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Using vascular access ports for dogs undergoing chemotherapy

F. Valentini, F. Fassone, A. Pozzebon, A. Gavazza, G. Lubas

VASCULAR access ports (VAPs) are implantable devices designed to provide repeated access to the vascular system. VAPs have become routine in human medicine to deliver, for example, therapeutics, fluids and controlled analgesia; however, there are relatively few published data on the use of these devices in small animal medicine.

In this Italian study, VAPs were placed in 12 dogs affected by different tumours and requiring long-lasting chemotherapy. Using the non-invasive Seldinger technique, a silicone catheter was inserted from the jugular vein up to the junction of the cranial vena cava and right atrium. A J-tip wire guide was used to enter the vessel with minimal tissue injury. The catheter was then connected to the port previously placed in a subcutaneous pocket over the scapula. The authors considered this method less invasive than the classical technique in which the vein is surgically isolated; surgical and recovery time is also shorter.

Seven of 12 dogs showed no clinical complications and VAPs were left in place until the patients were euthanased (up to one year from implantation). The port was removed from the remaining four dogs due to complications …

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