We received the following email last night and I was hoping that if any of you have some experience you could help out. I am deleting any personal details from the email and just leaving the situation. Maybe if a vet could weigh in if they have ever helped a client build an oxygen tent / chamber at home.
Trixie the Chihuahua recently started acting under the weather, we had her in vets and nobody could find anything wrong with her. Long story short, Trixie ended up an hour away in the veterinary hospital. Barely able to breathe. Every test under the sun and they still don’t know what is wrong with her….at one point we were sure we were going to loose her but she has been getting a little better bit by bit. She’s in an incubator so she can get oxygen. We make the trip everyday to visit her and she seems to be improving a little at a time, to the point where she is alert and MAD when we have to leave.
The internal medicine dr said since they can’t figure out what’s wrong with her, if they can keep her breathing regulated he said she might be able to come home, if she is stable she may continue to improve more if she can be with my mom. He said he knows some pet parents get a portable oxygen tent and he can prescribe oxygen in case her breathing gets bad.Unfortunately he has no clue where they get the tents and I can’t seem to find them anywhere. In your research have you come across anything like this or can you offer any suggestions?
I am so sorry they don’t know what is wrong with little Trixie but glad to hear she seems to be stabilizing. I have never had to administer oxygen at home and don’t recall any of the clients at the Animal Hospital I worked at having to either so I did a bit of an online search. There doesn’t seem to be portable oxygen tents for dogs available on the market. It seems that some people purchase a child sized oxygen tent from Human Medical Supply companies.
I did find some great ideas for small dogs that might prove to be easier to acquire and would make a suitable oxygen chamber at home. The best idea I saw was a giant fish take where they lined the bottom with soft blankets and a pillow and put a fan inside. I couldn’t see how or where the oxygen was coming in from but I would think they rigged it to go through the top. A big fish tank could prove very costly and since this is something you need right away and can’t wait to find one at a yard sale or on Craigslist etc. A temporary solution would be to use a hard sided crate and wrap it in plastic cling wrap. You could wrap the sides in plastic and then wrap the door separately. You would probably need to use packing tape in order to make sure the plastic is secure or you could start with taping up the holes and then put plastic around it. It will not be perfect and some oxygen could escape but it would be better then nothing and should work. The crate could be left on a table or desk set up and ready for anyone to use.
After a little more digging I found a picture of a dog in an Oxygen tent where the brand name was visible. If you do a search for Buster Oxygen Tent you should be able to find a supplier. It looks exactly like a soft sided crate only instead of mesh the sides are plastic.
If the situation is really bad and you need to be sure of direct oxygen to your dog you could always purchase an oxygen mask they come in three sizes so for the big dogs this might be the only real viable option for at home oxygen therapy.
If anyone has some words of advice from experience or other ideas of how to create a pet oxygen tent / chamber in your home please feel free to share.