At Pawprint Oxygen we are deeply invested in making sure your pet receives safe oxygen therapy. In this blog post, we provide you with background information that is essential to keep in mind when sourcing an Oxygen Concentrators for pets.
Let’s start with some quick terminology:
Oxygen purity relates to the percent level oxygen in the air flow. For example, room air is 21% oxygen. Ideally, an oxygen source wants to be as close to 100% as possible.
Flow rate is the amount of air flow. It is a unit of measurement of volume (liters) over time (minutes).
It is exceptionally important for your pet’s safety to use a Medical Grade Oxygen Concentrator. A Medical Grade Oxygen Concentrator provides high purity oxygen gas (>95% oxygen) at every flow rate setting (1-10 liters per minute). There are many different models of Medical Grade Oxygen Concentrators. Each model has different capabilities for providing oxygen therapy to a pet.
Oxygen Cages need both adequate flow (to prevent CO2 and heat build up) and oxygen levels to be safe and effective. A 5 liter per minute (LPM) Oxygen Concentrator is adequate to supply a Small or Medium Oxygen Cage. A 10 LPM Concentrator will function similarly with a Large Oxygen Cage. All Medical Grade Concentrator models can be used with a Pet Oxygen Mask at the flow rate prescribed by your veterinarian.
An Oxygen Concentrator that is not Medical Grade or is offered through an unaccredited source may still be called a “Concentrator” but it may not be built to sustain high oxygen purity at each flow rate. In other words, while many of these machines offer flow rates between 1 and 5 Liters per minute, as you increase the flow rate, the percent oxygen it is producing decreases drastically. When used to supply an Oxygen Cage, this will leave your pet without the oxygen it needs even if the flow rate is accurate.
Here is a chart comparing the oxygen purity from a 5 Liter Medical Grade Concentrator to a 5 Liter non- Medical Grade Concentrator.
How the Concentrator Provides Oxygen to the Oxygen Cage
Each size Oxygen Cage has a specific volume of gas it holds (in the form of room air). In order to create a therapeutic environment you need to fill the cage with oxygen, displacing the room air with oxygen gas. The volume of the Cage dictates how much oxygen gas needs to be pushed into it in order to achieve a desired oxygen purity.
For example, the Medium Cage has a volume of 120 Liters. When you first set up the cage this volume is filled with room air. As the Concentrator starts to run, it replaces the room air (which is 21% oxygen) with oxygen from the concentrator (which can contain up to 95% oxygen). For example, If you are running 10 LPM on the medium cage, in 10 minutes it will reach an oxygen level of ~40-50%, which is a therapeutic oxygen level ready for your pet.
If a Medical Grade Oxygen Concentrator is supplying 30% oxygen at 10 LPM and it is used to supply the same ICU cage for 5 minutes, then the oxygen level before putting the pet in there will be <25% (just a few percentage points above room air). Mathematically it will never reach 30%.
The oxygen percentage inside of the Cage depends on many factors. Many of these factors are specific to the pet. The oxygen percentage will be influenced by how fast and deep the pet is breathing, the size of the Cage, the flow rate, the venturi piece used, and the amount of time used to fill the Cage. Generally, oxygen levels between 30% to 65% can be achieved when using a Medical Grade Oxygen Concentrator that is properly vented. An Oxygen Concentrator that is not medical grade will not be able to achieve this level of oxygen saturation even at its highest flow rates. It will therefore offer little to no benefit, and may even be detrimental to the pet.
Investing in an Oxygen Cage is a big decision that will impact the health of your pet. Always follow the advice and guidance of your veterinarian. At Pawprint Oxygen we are dedicated to educating pet owners and veterinarians to ensure that they are providing safe oxygen therapy. If you have any questions about the equipment discussed in this post, please reach out to us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 855-699-4366.