Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is the delivery of 100% oxygen under pressure. It’s the very same treatment used on SCUBA divers that suffer from decompression illness (also known as “the bends”).
During hyperbaric oxygen therapy the patient is placed safely and comfortably in a large chamber with 100% oxygen at pressure 1.5 to 3 times that of normal atmospheric pressure. Treatments may last from 1 to 2 hours and are given1 to 3 times daily with at least 4 hours between sessions. Most patients appear calm and relaxed during hyperbaric oxygen therapy (many even fall asleep!) The total number of treatments necessary varies according to the type of treatment and the patient’s response.
Generally hyperbaric oxygen therapy results in reduction in swelling, stimulation of new blood vessel formation into the healing/swollen tissue, a reduction in pressure caused by head or spinal cord injuries, improved would healing, and improved infection control. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy can be of great help to veterinary patients by speeding up the healing process and may reduce or eliminate the need for more invasive procedures such as surgery, oftentimes resulting in a net savings of time and cost of treatment for pet owners.