Ventilators made for CATS AND DOGS are being urgently sought for use in hospitals after it was revealed Australia only has 2,000
- The Australian Veterinary Boards Council will source pet ventilators for hospitals
- It comes as patients needing ventilators due to coronavirus is expected to rise
- The Health Minister said Australia only has 2000 but more are being sought
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Pet ventilators are being urgently sought for use in hospitals as demand for the vital breathing equipment is predicted to surge past Australia’s current supply.
The Australian Veterinary Boards Council will help the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society source additional ventilators that are normally used on cats and dogs.
The request comes amid concerns intensive care units in Australia could soon face an unprecedented climb in patients as coronavirus cases continue to surge.
Respiratory machines used on dogs and cats are being pulled from veterinary hospitals across Australia to be used on coronavirus patients requiring intensive care if the current supply is depleted
‘Many ventilator models used by vets are exactly the same as the machines used in human hospitals, which means the intensivists are already familiar with their use. They just need to know where to find them,’ Dr Julie Strous, executive director of the veterinary council, told the Sydney Morning Herald.
‘Having the vet ventilator inventory ready to go means the doctors are well-prepared should the need arise. It’s better to have too many machines than not enough.’
The council said many specialist facilities and university-based veterinary hospitals have state-of-the art equipment which are well adept for use on humans and saving their lives.
On Tuesday, the AVBC sent an email to vet hospitals across the country requesting information about the type, condition and age of their ventilators
The data will be used to create an inventory for hospital ICU teams so they can locate possible reserve machines if needed.
Due to unique diseases, such as snake envenomation and tick paralysis, Australian veterinary clinics are likely to have more mechanical ventilators per head of the population than other countries.
Dr Strous said this provides Australia with an advantage during the virus crisis as the medical equipment can now be used to save lives.
Information about the location and condition of the spare equipment will be placed into an inventory for hospital intensive care units
President of the Australian Veterinary Association Julia Crawford said the Department of Health would be responsible for checking that ventilators from vet clinics were of a sufficient age and grade, and suitable to be used for people.
‘We do have a lot of ventilators on the east coast because of ticks. Some are very old, some aren’t so old. They would have to be thoroughly cleaned and used appropriately … but they are all ex-human machines,’ Dr Crawford said.
The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in England has also been tasked with organising ventilator supplies after they were found to be crucial in treating those with the illness in Italy.
It comes as Health Minister Jenny Mikakos and Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton told a press conference in Melbourne on Tuesday that there are only 2000 ventilators currently available nationwide.
Australia’s coronavirus cases soared to 2398 on Wednesday afternoon
Some models suggest Australia will need to double the number of ICU hospital beds equipped with ventilators to more than 4000 to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
Worst-case scenario models estimate that many thousands of Australians would die if infections continue to rise exponentially, leaving medical facilities drastically under resourced.
It would mean medics would be faced with the same predicament facing Italian doctors who have been told to prioritise the treatment of young people over old.
As of Wednesday afternoon, there have been 2398 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia, including eight deaths.