Specialists standardize CPR guidelines for dogs and cats

With less than six percent of dogs and cats under cardiopulmonary arrest surviving to hospital discharge, key stakeholders in emergency and critical care are standardizing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) guidelines in an effort to save lives.

Previously, no standardized CPR guidelines or training have existed in veterinary medicine.

Over the last 18 months, the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society (VECCS) and the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care (ACVECC) partnered to form the Reassessment Campaign on Veterinary Resuscitation (RECOVER) initiative.

The project took the work of over 100 board-certified veterinary specialists from around the world. The team of volunteers was tasked with reviewing experimental and clinical evidence and creating evidence-based CPR guidelines for dogs and cats.

According to ACVECC and VECCS, the historical lack of standardization has led to extreme variability in animal CPR, and has likely contributed to unsuccessful outcomes in dogs and cats experiencing cardiopulmonary arrest.

"It is the hope of the RECOVER initiative participants that this body of work will serve as a foundation for the development of training tools for veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and pet owners, ultimately leading to improved outcomes in dogs and cats that experience CPA," the group said in a news release.

The full guidelines will be released in a special issue of the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care in June 2012. The guidelines will also be available online at www.veccs.org after June 8, 2012.

RECOVER will also release new algorithm and drug dosing charts for veterinarians.

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