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What is Oxygen?

Oxygen is a chemical element with symbol O and atomic number 8. It is a member of the chalcogen group on the periodic table and is a highly reactive nonmetal and oxidizing agent that readily forms oxides with most elements as well as other compounds. By mass, oxygen is the third-most abundant element in the universe, after hydrogen and helium. At standard temperature and pressure, two atoms of the element bind to form dioxygen, a colorless and odorless diatomic gas with the formula O2. This is an important part of the atmosphere and diatomic oxygen gas constitutes 20.8% of the Earth’s atmosphere. Additionally, as oxides the element makes up almost half of the Earth’s crust.


OXYGEN DOGS CATS PETSHumans and other living organisms require oxygen to breathe. Oxygen enters the lungs when a person inhales, then diffuses through membranes into the red blood cells. It is then transported by these cells through the blood vessels to reach other cells throughout the body. It is essential to brain function and respiration and is a vital component of the metabolic process.

Oxygen allows the cell respiration and metabolism necessary for the growth of tissues, the conversion of food to energy and the reproduction of cells. The gas also provides heat and energy, and it oxidises or “burns” carbon dioxide and other waste materials to prevent them from poisoning the body.

The brain uses 20 percent of the oxygen a body consumes. Loss of cognition, memory or movement control can be due to reduced oxygen intake and subsequent lowered neuron activity. When neurons do not get enough oxygen, this leads to fatigue, irritability and depression. According to, this increases the risks of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease. Brain cells begin dying within about five minutes of being deprived of oxygen.

Receiving oxygen treatments reportedly improves alertness, reflexes and memory. It protects against dementia, and it can help alcoholics to stop drinking. Mayo Clinic explains that hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber, providing the lungs with as much as three times more oxygen than normal.


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    . 2002;12(4):245-251.
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    administration in healthy awake dogs. Am J Vet Res. 1992;53(5):856.
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Patients in severe respiratory distress require oxygen supplementation immediately.


PaO2= partial pressure of oxygen
SaO2= oxygen saturation
SpO2= pulse oximetry reading

How can I provide oxygen supplementation for small Animal patients?

Oxygen therapy is indicated for any patient presented in respiratory distress. Even a patient with mild to moderate respiratory distress should receive supplemental oxygen. Patients in severe distress require oxygen supplementation immediately, before attempts to identify the cause. If quantitative measurements are available, oxygen supplementation should be provided to any patient with oxygen saturation (SaO2) or pulse oximetry reading (SpO2) of <93% or with an arterial partial pressure of oxygen (PaO2) of <80mm Hg.1 Minimal risk is associated with short-term oxygen supplementation, which rapidly benefits most hypoxicpatients. Oxygen supplementation can be provided while a quick patient assessment is performed. This includes evaluation for upper airway obstruction thatmay require immediate treatment with endotracheal intubation or tracheostomy. Oxygen supplementation should also be provided for patients with respiratory distress during catheter placement, thoracocentesis, radiography, orsedation for any other procedures.

Oxygen can be supplied from various sources (eg, centralized in-house oxygen, portable oxygen tanks, anesthetic machines) and in many different ways, depending on the severity of respiratory distress, the need to handle the patient while providing oxygen, the duration supplementation is needed, the available equipment, and the clinical experience and skills of the clinician.

Method of Oxygen Supplementation Oxygen Concentration Attainable Pros Cons
Flow-By 25%-40% Easy to use
Limited equipment
Keeps patient accessible for examinations and procedures
Requires someone to hold tubing
Only useful short-term
Mask 50%-60% Attains high oxygen concentration with proper mask
Limited equipment
Keeps patient accessible for examinations and procedures
Ineffective if patient moves away
Can cause rebreathing of CO2 if mask is too tight or with no exhaust
Oxygen Hood 30%-40% Limited equipment
Keeps patient accessible for examinations and procedures
Humidity, CO2, and temperature can increase inside hood
Oxygen Cage Up to 100% Allows patient to stabilize with low stress
Can attain high oxygen concentration
Expensive to purchase equipment and use
Limited accessibility to patient
Oxygen concentration rapidly falls when door is opened
Temperature and humidity can increase if not controlled by cage
Nasal Up to 80% with bilateral catheters Good for dogs too large to fit in oxygen cage
Keeps patient accessible for examinationsand procedures
Not tolerated by all patients
Difficult in brachycephalic patients
Panting can reduce effectiveness

Other Considerations when administering Oxygen (O2)

If the patient is in severe respiratory distress or has an upper airway obstruction, it may be necessary to secure an airway by intubating with anendotracheal tube.  This will allow more cranial obstructions (orophar yngeal, laryngeal, majority of the trachea) to be bypassed if the tube can be placed through the obstructing area. It will also allow for supplementation with 100% oxygen if required and mechanical ventilation for patients with severe pulmonary diseaseor an inability to ventilate because of neuromuscular causes. These patients require constant supervision and monitoring while intubated.

If being provided for more than a few hours, oxygen should be humidified (ie,saturated with water vapor) to prevent desiccation of the airways, especially if the turbinates are bypassed with nasalor tracheal oxygen catheters. Specially designed units that heat and humidify inspired air are available for placement inanesthetic and ventilator circuits, butnasal or cage oxygen humidification can be accomplished by bubbling the oxygen through a chamber of distilled water.

Patients receiving oxygen therapy should be monitored closely using physical examination parameters such as respiratory rate and effort, mucous membrane color, and heart rate, ashypoxemia can cause tachycardia. Pulseoximetry or arterial blood gas analysis can be used to confirm the patient is oxygenating at an acceptable level with oxygen supplementation. Pulse oximetry is the easiest, least invasive method. The lowest oxygen concentration that maintains the patient at SpO2>93% or PaO2>80 mm Hg should be used. As the underlying condition improves, oxygen supplementation should be slowly decreased while ensuring adequate oxygenation. If adequate oxygenation cannot be attained with supplemental oxygen at an acceptable or attainable level, intubation and positive pressureventilation with positive end-expiratory pressure should be considered.

Long-term therapy with high concentrations of oxygen (100% O2for >24 hours or 60% O2 for >48 hours) is associated with lung damage (ie, oxygen toxicity). Inflammatory injury is caused by toxic metabolites of oxygen, including oxygen free radicals and superoxide molecules. Clinically, oxygen toxicity is difficult to diagnose, but changes in the lungs are similar to those seen in acute respiratory distress syndrome. The oxygen concentration used to maintain critical patients should always be minimized to the lowest the patient can tolerate.


Over the years, many pet owners who are battling with their dogs and cats against lung diseases, heart diseases and the dreadful cancer have contacted us on how to deliver oxygen to their pets.

We have fine tune the designs so it is as close as possible to a total sealed O2 container that is capable of delivering oxygen at almost 100% at ambient pressure. This system is probably one of the fastest and safest way to deliver uninterrupted oxygen to your dog and cat, and it has been designed to solve most of the problems that pet owners faces.

DIY oxygen cage container dogs cats lung heart respiratory cancer

Components of Oxygen Cage

Acrylic Cage : Get a reliable Acrylic maker and customize the container. The container must be of a minimum height of your dog and depth and width of your dog lying down comfortably. The door should have rubber seals to ensure a good seal so that oxygen does not leak. And also, factor in small holes on sides of the container for ventilation. Do not worry so much about CO2 built up and leaking of oxygen.

Hygrometer : Get a Hygrometer that has a wire attached to an sensor. You can easily get one from This is used to measure temperature, humidity and also a timer.

Oxygen Analyzer : Get a good O2 analyzer to ensure that there is always 100% or close to 100% oxygen in the container. This is especially important for pet owners who wishes to administer oxygen for a short period and let the pet out from time to time.

Scuba Tank with Regulator : This is meant to quickly fill up the Acrylic container

Oxygen Concentrator : Once you have achieved 100% in the Acrylic container, you will switch to the oxygen concentrator as it is more economical this way.

How to Use the DIY Oxygen Acrylic Container

When the Acrylic container first arrive, set up the entire unit as described based on the picture ontop. Once that is done, open the door and place a nice cushion and a bowl in it. Encourage your dog to go in and explore it. DO NOT STRESS THE DOG by forcing him in it.

Some pet owners find it useful to feed their pet in the Acrylic container so that they can get use to it.

Once your pet gets comfortable with the Acrylic container, it is time to experiment with your pet in it and closing the door from time to time, so that he/she feels comfortable.

When your pet is finally getting comfortable, it is time to deliver oxygen to him.

NOTE : The empty Acrylic container will have only 21% oxygen in it at any point of time. SO each time when you close the door, your objective is to quickly raise the oxygen level from 21% to close to 100% oxygen using compressed oxygen from a scuba cylinder to fill it up.

Use the oxygen analyzer to monitor the oxygen level. Once you have achieved close to 100%, switch it to the Oxygen Concentrator to maintain the oxygen level. Your pet should be in it for a minimum of 30 mins with at least a resting time of 15 minutes, especially if it is a senior dogs that need to drink water and pee.

Cost of oxygen in the Acrylic container

For this example, we are assuming that your Acrylic container is a 100cm3 . It is a rather simple formula to calculate how much air you need to fill up your Acrylic container.

Volume : 100cm (L) x 100cm (B) x 100cm (H) = 1000000 centimeter3 = 1000 litres of air.

On a regular AL80 scuba tank, it has about 2264 litres of oxygen. The cost of a refill would be approximately SGD$ 60.00 per tank. So before you go all the way out and make a condominium Acrylic oxygen container, consider this.

You can use the oxygen concentrator to fill it up. But it will take a long long time. Most oxygen concentrator are designed to be at max 5 litres per minute airflow. Using the example above, it will take 200 minutes to fill up your Acrylic container and your pet would be wanting to get out 1 hour before you even fill up the container.

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