Care for horses & livestock/farm animals
Care for cats, dogs & other companion animals
Extracorporeal therapies, including hemodialysis and therapeutic plasma exchange, are lifesaving procedures that utilize advanced technologies to filter the blood to remove harmful substances from the body.
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The hemodialysis machine acts as an artificial kidney to process blood and remove toxins and excess water. Hemodialysis may be recommended for many diseases including treatment of acute kidney injury, toxin ingestion, or prior to surgical treatment for kidney disease.
Hemodialysis and Kidneys
Additional treatments will be recommended during hospitalization to treat the underlying kidney disease. These treatments will vary, but will include nutritional management, pain management, and disease specific recommendations.
Therapeutic Plasma Exchange (TPE) utilizes a machine that separates blood into red blood cells and plasma. TPE may be recommended for specific intoxications or to treat immune mediated diseases. During the treatment, the plasma containing toxins or antibodies is removed and replaced with fresh plasma.
The exact number of treatments required depend on the cause and severity of the underlying disease. For many intoxications, only a single treatment is necessary. These patients may even be able to go home the next day. In patients with acute kidney injury or immune mediated disease, multiple treatments are necessary over a period of days. During this time, animals stay with us in the hospital and additional therapies will be initiated to help treat the underlying disease. At the time of consultation, we will make a recommendation for the initial number of treatments to expect for your pet.
What Happens During a Treatment
Treatments are not painful and do not require anesthesia. Prior to the first treatment, a large catheter will be placed. This will require sedation or, in some cases, a short anesthesia. During the treatment, we provide a soft and warm bed. We keep the lights turned down in the room to make therapy as relaxing as possible. Many animals even take a nap during their treatment. We monitor heart rate, breathing rate, and temperature regularly. Each treatment lasts between 3-6 hours. Over time, our patients begin to associate the dialysis room with feeling better and look forward to coming in to see us!
Costs vary, depending on the reason for treatment and duration of therapy. At the time of consultation, we will give you an estimate of the cost of care.
We will work as a team with your regular veterinarian, the Penn Vet team of veterinarians, and our highly trained veterinary technicians.