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Endotracheal tubes

Laryngeal masks

Anesthesia Service and Equipment


Facemasks are less commonly employed in veterinary than medical anesthesia, since endotracheal intubation is so simple in most domestic species.


  • Short procedures.
  • Pre-oxygenation prior to induction of anesthesia.
  • Mask induction.
  • Species where endotracheal intubation is difficult (e.g. cat, pig).


  • Difficult to produce a gas-tight seal.
  • No protection against upper airway obstruction.
  • No protection against aspiration of regurgitated gastric contents.

Two types of facemasks are commonly used in small animal anesthesia:

Rigid transparent plastic fitted with a sealing ring. This enables visualization of the patient's head within the mask, but has a large dead-space and may be difficult to seal.
Anatomically malleable black rubber. This can be conformed to the patient's nose, so reducing dead-space, but is opaque.

The type of mask employed is very much a matter of personal preference in balancing these different features.

Endotracheal tubes   

Comments on this article should be addressed to Dr Guy Watney
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