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Flow Chart to Aid in the Management of Bradycardia in Small Animals

Posted in Operations @ Oct 27th 2016 - By Jen Davies BVMS Masters Vet Anaes. MANZCVS (Anaesthesia and Critical Care) DipECVAA
Flow Chart To Aid In Management Of Bradycardia In Small Animals V3

Decision making tool to aid in the management of bradycardia in small animals

Originally published on the Vet Anaesthesia Blog 14 June 2016: Management of Bradycardia in Small Animals

I’ve created a flow-chart to aid decision making should bradycardia occur during general anaesthesia in cats and dogs. 

Note that opinion differs widely, even among specialists, as to when use of anti-muscarinic drugs (e.g. atropine) is appropriate. These are my suggestions only. Inappropriate use of these drugs can lead to tachycardia, hypertension and arrhythmias.

It is difficult to specify at what heart rate an animal can be classed as bradycardic. This is because normal resting heart rate varies between species and between breed. Sometimes a low heart rate may be appropriate due to drugs that have been used (e.g. medetomidine), or due to physiological processes. In general, a low heart rate in combination with hypotension (systolic BP <80mmHg, mean BP <60mmHg) requires treatment. If a low heart rate with normo-/hyper-tension, the underlying cause should be investigated and removed if appropriate.

Click here to download a pdf version of the Flow Chart from 'Vet Anaesthesia Tips' Blog

If you have any questions for Jen, just ask them in the Comments section below.

About Jen

Dr Jen Davis (@Dr GasVet) is a European Specialist in Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia. She is currently undertaking a PhD at Murdoch University, investigating the early diagnosis of acute kidney injury induced by anaesthesia-related hypotension.

Jen also works part-time as registrar in veterinary anaesthesia at The Animal Hospital at Murdoch University, where she administers sedation, anaesthesia, and analgesia to all species of animal, as well as teaching undergraduate students and resident vets studying to become anaesthesia specialists.

A summary of Jen’s research, and open access to her published work can be found onResearchGate.

For more excellent posts on veterinary anaesthesia vist Jen's blog: Vet Anaesthesia Tips and register to receive notifications of new posts by email

You can also follow Jen on:

Twitter: Vet Anaesthesia Tips  |  Facebook: Veterinary Anaesthesia Tips


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