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Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT)
for animals


錨點 1

What is the difference between hyperbaric oxygen therapy and oxygen box therapy?

In hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), small animals are placed in a high-pressure environment and breathe 100% pure oxygen. HBOT is used for various medical purposes other than health maintenance as it improves self-immune system effectively. Medical use includes treating burns, alleviating symptoms of chronic wounds, treating carbon monoxide poisoning, and managing radiation-induced tissue damage. The principle of HBOT is to increase the pressure of oxygen, making it easier for the body to absorb and raising the concentration of oxygen in tissues, promoting tissue repair and healing.

Oxygen box therapy is a method of receiving treatment in a small oxygen box. This treatment is typically used to provide high concentrations of oxygen to small animals, and the animal only need to breathe-in the oxygen provided by the device. Oxygen box therapy is commonly used to treat respiratory system diseases, cardiovascular diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and other conditions. The principle of oxygen box therapy is to provide high concentrations of oxygen, increase the oxygen content in the blood, improve tissue oxygenation, and promote the body's recovery.

錨點 2


Are there any situations where it is inappropriate to enter a hyperbaric oxygen chamber?

1.    Untreated pneumothorax (collapsed lung) and asthma.
2.    Untreated multiple sternum fractures or open chest wounds.
3.    Cavitary pulmonary tuberculosis or a history of hemoptysis (coughing up blood).
4.    Uncontrolled internal bleeding.
5.    Unexplained fever.
It is important to consult with a veterinarian before considering hyperbaric oxygen therapy to ensure that the treatment is appropriate and safe for the specific condition of the small animal.


錨點 3

What precautions should be taken before undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy?

1.    Avoid diet two hours prior to entering the hyperbaric chamber.
2.    Do not use petroleum by-products, such as paw balms or creams
3.    Since the temperature inside the chamber is similar to the outside temperature, if hyperbaric treatment is conducted during winter, to bring cotton clothing or a blanket for the small animal is advised.


錨點 4

How does the process of hyperbaric oxygen therapy work?

Before entering to the HBOT chamber. the HBOT operator or owner should remove items from the animal like name tag, leash, muzzle etc then animal should be led into the hyperbaric oxygen chamber. The animal only needs to rest inside the chamber throughout the treatment. The entire process takes about one hour depending on its conditions and needs.

During the process, Amiko AquaWalk provides real-time status of the chamber interior on Tablet for Owner. In any condition, a HBOT operator shall monitor the animal condition throughout the process through monitoring gear at the same time to ensure safety or take any emergency action as if there is any issue inside the chamber. 

錨點 5


What sensations can be expected during hyperbaric oxygen therapy?

During hyperbaric oxygen therapy, small animals may experience a slight discomfort in their inner ears, like the sensation we feel during ascent and descent in an airplane caused by changing air pressure. Most of small animals will naturally balance the discomfort by shaking their heads or yawning. However, since we cannot communicate verbally with animals, constant monitoring should be in place to continuously observe the conditions inside the hyperbaric chamber throughout the therapy session hence to ensure the safety and allow the operator has sufficient reaction time once there is any abnormal signs observed.


錨點 6

06.    Can hyperbaric oxygen therapy be used for all animal species?

Yes, it can. According to information provided by the Veterinary Hyperbaric Association (VHA) in the United States, in addition to common animals such as horses, dogs, cats, and mice, hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been used by veterinarians to treat various species including snakes, turtles, seahorses, and many others.


錨點 7

Do small animals get anxious when trapped in an enclosed space?

Some small animals may have anxiety and stress in an enclosed environment; therefore, pretreatment risk assessment shall be conducted together with owner.  If there is any abnormal behavioral signs or sign of distress in the chamber, HBOT operator shall proceed to lower the pressure in the chamber to see if animal could resume to normal or depressurize totally and remove the animal from the chamber.    Once the animal resumes to a calm state, animal could return to chamber with a constant low pressure in order to get use to the environment and pressurized environment but which shall obtain the consent from the owner.

錨點 8


How often should I schedule hyperbaric oxygen therapy for my pet?

The frequency of hyperbaric oxygen therapy sessions for your pet may vary depending on their condition.

For general wellness and preventive care, it is generally recommended to start with two sessions per week for the first month, and then adjust the frequency to 1 to 4 sessions per month based on individual needs.

For specific needs such as wound healing, nerve damage, or inflammation management, it is typically recommended to undergo consecutive sessions for 5 days and then review the progress to determine the subsequent frequency based on initial outcome. Alternatively, you should follow the recommendation provided by the veterinarian overseeing your pet's treatment.


錨點 9

Can I undergo hyperbaric oxygen therapy for my pet while they are on anti-inflammatory medication?

In general, it is possible to undergo hyperbaric oxygen therapy while your pet is on anti-inflammatory medication. However, if the timing of medication administration and hyperbaric oxygen therapy is too close, the hyperbaric oxygen may accelerate the absorption of the medication. If your pet is currently on medication, it is recommended to consult with your veterinarian or provide the name of the anti-inflammatory medication to the HBOT operator who should provide you appropriate guidance and advices. 


錨點 10

If my pet has just undergone surgery, when can I start hyperbaric oxygen therapy?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy promotes wound healing and helps prevent anaerobic bacterial infections. It is ideal to begin the therapy as early as possible to achieve the best results.


Anaerobic bacterial infections in dogs occur when the animal becomes infected by bacteria that are able to grow without any oxygen. These types of infections often occur in the mouth or involve a deep cut, bite, or wound. An anaerobic bacterial infection should be treated as quickly as possible.

錨點 11


Can my pet undergo hyperbaric oxygen therapy if diagnosed with cancerous tumors?

Extensive research has been conducted in the industry over the years regarding the effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) on tumors. Early clinical studies primarily focused on the potential of HBOT. However, most recent researches indicate that there is no support for the notion that HBOT has carcinogenic or tumor-promoting effects. There is no evidence suggesting that HBOT leads to tumor formation or increases tumor growth.


In fact, recent studies suggest that HBOT, when used in conjunction with radiation therapy and certain chemotherapy drugs, can reduce tumor size. Nevertheless, further scientific and clinical research is still needed to fully understand the impact of oxygen, including hyperbaric oxygen, on tumor cells and the tumor microenvironment. Evaluation should be carried out by the attending veterinarian for each specific case.


Based on current research and evidence, the Veterinary Hyperbaric Association (VHA) considers tumors not to be an absolute contraindication for the clinical use of HBOT as an acceptable treatment option.


錨點 12

Can hyperbaric oxygen therapy treat underlying conditions?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help increase cellular oxygen levels in small animals, thereby enhancing their immune system. Therefore, in theory, after undergoing several sessions of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, it is possible for small animals to facilitate self-repair for unknown underlying conditions.


錨點 13

Is hyperbaric oxygen therapy approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)?

The FDA is an organization in the United States that regulates food and drugs for human use. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been approved by the FDA for various purposes in humans, such as treating wounds, burns, skin, and bone infections.


In the United States, hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been increasingly used in animals, particularly as an adjunctive treatment for horses and dogs, over the past decade or so. However, it is important to note that specific approvals and regulations may vary between human and veterinary medicine from country to country.

錨點 14


Is hyperbaric oxygen therapy supported by clinical research?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has its origins in 1662, and its history can be traced back to ancient times. Early research primarily involved studying the effects of high-pressure environments on different body systems by administering treatment to animals, serving as a precursor to investigating certain human diseases.


Over the years, HBOT has been regarded as an effective therapeutic approach. From the late 1990s to the early 2000s, pioneers in the veterinary field began to show interest in using HBOT as an adjunctive modality to traditional internal medicine and surgery. Since then, hyperbaric chambers have been established in veterinary clinics, rehabilitation centers, specialized institutions, and educational establishments worldwide.


Although the application of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in veterinary medicine is still at its early stages, thousands of treatments have already been administered, yielding highly successful outcomes. The veterinary profession as a whole, along with the Veterinary Hyperbaric Association (VHA), has been established to facilitate the exchange of the latest information, continuing education, research, and development related to HBOT.


錨點 15

Does hyperbaric oxygen therapy carry any risks or side effects from excessive use?

The main risks or side effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) are barotrauma and oxygen toxicity. Barotrauma primarily occurs during the pressurization process and can result in ear pain, sinus damage, etc. However, these can be avoided by carefully controlling the rate of pressurization. Colleagues operating the hyperbaric oxygen chamber at Amiko Aquawalk are trained to prevent barotrauma in small animals.


Oxygen toxicity mainly occurs with prolonged exposure to high pressure and high levels of oxygen, leading to neurological seizures and lung damage. This typically happens when oxygen is administered at pressures exceeding 4 atmospheres for more than 4 hours. In general, clinical practice, pressures are usually kept below 2.5 atmospheres, and oxygen exposure time does not exceed 90 minutes, ensuring absolute safety.

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