We have heard time and time again…cats are not small dogs.
If you have ever attempted to intubate a cat, you would completely agree! Cats are often more difficult to intubate with rapid and potentially severe laryngospasm, making intubation under severe sedation a challenge. While there are often tips and tricks to intubate a cat (e.g., ranging from the use of a stylet to the use of a local anesthesia drug such as lidocaine), there continues to be research into better ways to protect the airways of our patients.
One of these tools is the use of laryngeal mask airways. While used in the human medical field, these have become a new product in the veterinary field that an increasing number of practitioners are becoming comfortable with.
Laryngeal mask airways are designed to be passed blindly into the oropharynx beyond the larynx, then pulled out slightly to bring the epiglottis rostrally and position the cuffed lumen of the device over the larynx.
One of the most common options in the veterinary market is the "V-Gel".
The goal of using the V-Gel is to give a gas-tight seal and prevent the issue of laryngeal spasm, coughing, gagging, stridor, or tracheitis post-endotracheal intubation. There are certain conditions in which this device and technique would be a challenge and potentially should be avoided including any abnormality obstructing the lumen of the airway (e.g., laryngeal paralysis, laryngeal/upper tracheal mass).
If you work with a lot of rabbits (who require intubation), this is also a great option to consider
Have you used these products? COMMENT below and let us know!
1. Briganti A, Melanie P, Portela D, Breghi G, Mama K. Continuous positive airway pressure administered via face mask in tranquilized dogs. J Vet Emerg Crit Care. 2010;20:503–508.
2. Prasse SA, Schrack J, Wenger S, Mosing M. Clinical evaluation of the v-gel supraglottic airway device in comparison with a classical laryngeal mask and endotracheal intubation in cats during spontaneous and controlled mechanical ventilation. Vet Anaesth Analg. 2015 [Epub ahead of print].
3. van Oostrom H, Krauss MW, Sap R. A comparison between the v-gel supraglottic airway device and the cuffed endotracheal tube for airway management in spontaneously breathing cats during isoflurane anaesthesia. Vet Anaesth Analg. 2013;40:265–271.
4. Weiderstein I, Moens YP. Guidelines and criteria for the placement of laryngeal mask airways in dogs. Vet Anaesth Analg. 2008;35:374–382.