Triage of the emergency patient

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This chapter covers all of the vital stages of emergency evaluation in the critically ill patient: telephone triage; waiting room triage; primary survey and initial treatment; and secondary survey and the emergency plan. The chapter highlights methods for blood sampling and analysis, acid-base and electrolyte monitoring and cage-side ultrasonography.

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1.1 Following triage evaluation, unstable patients are taken to the treatment area for initial assessment.
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1.2 Critically ill animals have little physiological reserve to tolerate physical examination or medical intervention. Allow dyspnoeic animals to stabilize in oxygen before performing diagnostics and, above all, do no harm.
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1.3 Intravenous access must be established as quickly as possible in the critical emergency patient. Short over-the-needle catheters (top) placed in peripheral veins are best, as the flow rate is optimal in a short wide-bore catheter. Long through-the-needle catheters (bottom) placed in central veins are ideal for longer periods of hospitalization.
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1.4 Blood samples for the emergency database can be obtained by filling a microhaematocrit tube from the hub of a 25 G needle placed in a peripheral blood vessel, in this case the cephalic vein.
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