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NYC Veterinarians Lend Their Ventilators for Human Use as City Fights COVID-19 Pandemic

If you have a ventilator, ‘we need it now,’ the city’s mayor said.

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Some veterinary hospitals in New York City are lending their human-grade ventilators for human use as the city tries to get its coronavirus outbreak under control, the New York Post reports.

“There’s usually a distinct line between veterinary medicine and human medicine and there’s no crossover,” but the COVID-19 pandemic is an exception, said Brett Levitzke of Veterinary Emergency & Referral Group.

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All told, the city’s specialty vet hospitals probably have a dozen ventilators, Levitzke estimated. They’re used in cases such as lung contusions, heart failure and pneumonia in cats and dogs.

Levitzke’s vet hospital has only one of the machines. Still, he told the Post, “If the option is to have the ventilator here for potential use, or getting it out on the front lines where it’ll definitely be used, it’s not even a question.” If an animal needs ventilation and the machine isn’t available, vet hospitals can apply manual ventilation, providing bags of oxygen by hand.

Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners recently provided seven ventilators to Manhattan’s New York-Presbyterian Hospital, the Post reports.

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New York Mayor Bill de Blasio encouraged such contributions late last month, asking not only veterinarians but also plastic surgeons and oral surgeons to make their ventilators available.

“If you’ve got a ventilator in your office, in your operating room, we need it now,” he said.

Read more at the New York Post

Since launching in 2017, PETS+ has won 16 major international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact PETS+'s editors at editor@petsplusmag.com.

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