morbidity & mortality

completely forgot to mention this short review on morbidity & mortality rounds (though they seem to be more commonly referred to as “conferences” in the literature). hope this turns out to a useful resource. traditionally, m&m rounds/ conferences have often been a forum for blaming and shaming, but they are much more useful as a way to learn from mistakes, without limiting evaluations of what happened to the person/people at the sharp end. as described by Reason in his classic swiss cheese model of error, there are usually lots of underlying factors contributing to error. alongside the paper, we included a couple of powerpoint presentations (in english and french) in the supplementary showing how a case might be presented for m&m rounds.




long overdue

this is a long overdue post after several months of relative sloth. a few fun things, in reverse chronolgoical order (or what i can remember…):

1. Fred won the Best Oral Abstract Presentation by a Resident at the recent Association of Veterinary Anaesthetists Spring Meeting in Grenada (a distant memory after walking to work in -20C this morning).


2. peerj preprint published. this was submitted to peerj to take advantage of their free publication month, celebrating 5 years of existence for the journal. we were not alone in doing this; they received around 1500 submissions, but seem to have been handling it very well (we’ve already been assigned an academic editor and the accompanying preprint has been published).
this study shows that spending a little time on training is probably quite useful when applying the rat grimace scale.


3. couple of case reports published towards the end of last year, both with Graeme, one of our anaesthesia residents. being temporarily unable to extract an epidural catheter from a cow was an interesting experience and it’s always amazing how quickly time passes during a difficult intubation. both reports are open access 🙂

epid knotroc

4. and a paper from emily, refining some earlier work on pre-warming for maintaining peri-anaesthesia temperature in rats. an unexpected finding was discovering that the heat pad we were using had quite a variable temperature output. the raw data are avialble on the harvard dataverse.


AALAS 2017 posters

Thanks for following the QR link to our website. Here are copies of the 4 posters presented this year (the link to download will be active for the next 1-2 weeks):

1. Using the Rat Grimace Scale to identify pain in acute colitis in adult Sprague-Dawley rats: preliminary data
– poster link:

2. Optimizing body temperature management during recovery from general anesthesia in adult rats
– paper in press with JAALAS
– poster link:

3. Comparison of a supraglottic airway device with blind orotracheal intubation in rabbits
– paper published here (includes copy of a rather snazzy 3D reconstruction of the v-gel in situ):

Cite as: Front. Vet. Sci., 10 April 2017

4. Journal support of the ARRIVE guidelines has not resulted in improved reporting standards in animal welfare, anesthesia and analgesia
– poster link:

paper published

hot off the press, Chelsea’s paper has come out on-line in Lab Animals. this study nicely shows that pre-warming before general anaesthesia in rats is effective at maintaining core body temperature. general anaesthesia reduces the ability of the body to maintain core temperature, and because the normal temperature gradient between the warm core and cooler periphery is lost, this results in hypothermia. therefore, if the normal temperature gradient can be reduced (by pre-warming the periphery), the onset of hypothermia can be delayed, for 40 minutes in this case. pre-warmed rats also recovered approximately 5 times faster from anaesthesia.

additionally, chelsea was able to quantify the relationship between rectal temperature (a common way of monitoring body temperature during anaesthesia) and core body temperature (measured with telemetry), showing that while rectal temperature measuerements are less accurate, they maintain a fairly constant, predictable, relationship with core temperature.

cs paper

paper acceptance email

always nice to get one of the three good emails:

Dear Dr. Pang:

It is a pleasure to accept your manuscript LA-16-193.R2, entitled “Forced-air pre-warming prevents peri-anaesthetic hypothermia and shortens recovery in adult rats”, for publication in Laboratory Animals. Thank you for your fine contribution.

this is for Chelsea‘s summer project work improving temperature management in rats around the time of general anaesthesia, an even that is associated with reduced capacity for normal body temperature control, leading frequently to hypothermia. the consequences of hypothermia in veterinary species are not well understood as they have received little attention; however, the negative consequences in people are well documented, even with relatively small drops in temperature as little as 1 degree Celsius.

Chelsea showed that pre-warming rats with a glorified hot air dryer was very effective at protecting them from the onset of hypothermia during aproximately 40 minutes of anaesthesia. In contrast, rats that were not warmed at all, showed a dramatic, linear decrease in temperature, well below that which would be considered acceptable in human anaesthesia. subsequently, these rats took over 4 times longer to recover than the pre-warmed rats.

paper published – dog sedation


well done to Marika on completing and publishing a simple, but hopefully very useful study evaluating the performance of a sedation scale for dogs. sedation is commonly used in dogs to allow a range of minor procedures to be done, such as x-rays, scans, examining injuries. it is very common for research studies to assess sedation and we noticed that very few studies use the same scale to make this assessment. this makes it difficult, if not impossible, to compare results between studies.

an unexpected, and surprising result, was that a number of dogs were more deeply sedated than expected. this highlights the importance of closely monitoring our patients and reversing the effects of any drugs that can be reversed once a procedure is complete.

in the spirit of openness, data for this study were deposited in a repository.