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Investigation of high flow nasal cannula respiratory support systems in dogs with clinical disease

Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of a non-invasive, high flow nasal cannula (HFNC) system, to improve oxygenation and/or alleviate the work of breathing in dogs with respiratory disease (possibly preventing the need for intubation and ventilation).

Study Summary :

A new form of oxygen supplementation has been implemented in human medicine; high flow nasal cannula (HFNC) oxygen therapy. It is an intermediate intervention that is promising based on its adaptability in a pilot study using healthy dogs. HFNC delivers heated, humidified oxygen at high flow rates, which helps open airways and allows easier breathing and oxygen delivery. The system provides oxygen via nasal prongs placed on the nose. The HFNC system is able to deliver oxygen at higher flow rates than is possible by traditional oxygen support systems. The high flows achieve pressure to the airways known as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). CPAP is quite effective in assisting breathing. HFNC can benefit dogs with clinical respiratory disease by achieving CPAP as well as improving oxygenation in these patients. 

In human medicine, the use of HFNC is rapidly growing in neonatal, pediatric and adult patients as it offers several advantages over other non-invasive options including better tolerance, ease of administration, improved outcome in selected patient populations, and decreased cost compared to other non-invasive respiratory support tools. We feel that dogs with clinical respiratory disease are optimal candidates for the benefits of the HFNC system.


Inclusion Criteria:

• Dogs with acute respiratory failure (evidence of difficulty breathing) and/or low blood oxygen levels that have not responded favourably to routine therapy (eg. traditional oxygen supplementation and sedation) and/or continue to have low blood oxygen levels and meet other specific criteria required to be included in this study.



• The cost of the HFNC system, oxygen use while the HFNC system is being tested, and cost of blood oxygen level measurements at inclusion will be covered by the study.


Samples required:

• Blood sample


Vicky Sabine (PhD), Clinical Research Coordinator

Funded by OVC Pet Trust