Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) utilizes a specialized chamber to deliver high concentrations of pressurized oxygen (up to 100%) to patients. Utilizing the principles of basic physics, oxygen is delivered to compromised tissues despite minimal or even lack of, blood flow. Under pressure, oxygen enters the blood more readily allowing it to become dissolved in the plasma and transports it to tissues.

In human medicine, HBOT has been utilized and demonstrated to have varying effectiveness in treating a variety of conditions. Adapting these principles to veterinary medicine is exciting and practical.

How is HBOT applied to the patient?

The patient is placed in a specialized chamber and the pressure surrounding the patient is increased by allowing the oxygen to flow into the sealed chamber.

What is the goal of hyperbaric oxygen therapy?

The goal of HBOT is to increase the amount of oxygen that is delivered to diseased and damaged tissues to help them heal. As the concentration of oxygen is increased in the blood and plasma to very high levels, we also increase the distance it diffuses in the tissues.

Are there risks associated with HBOT?

As with any drug/medication, there is the potential for rare side effects to occur during a HBO
treatment. For example, patients may experience oxygen toxicity or barotrauma. However, the
incidence of these effects is minimized by proper dosing, frequency, duration of pressure, and oxygen,
and proper compression and decompression procedures. All patients are also closely monitored by a
specially trained and skilled veterinary staff member throughout their HBO session.

What are the indications of HBOT?

There are many indications for this therapy. In general, any condition or disease in which circulation to the diseased tissue has been compromised will benefit from this therapy. The list below is by no means complete, and as research continues, there will be more places for this therapy in veterinary medicine.

  • Wounds/Thermal burns, Compromised Grafts/Flaps, Envenomation (Spider, Snake)
  • Respiratory/Pulmonary edema, Pulmonary hemorrhage, Sinusitis
  • Cardiovascular-Hypotension, Cardiac Infarction, Reperfusion Syndrome, CO (Carbon Monoxide) Toxicity, Smoke Inhalation
  • Infectious Disease/Osteomyelitis, Anaerobic Infections, Intracranial and Abdominal Abscesses