Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

South Paws Veterinary Specialists

South Paws is excited to announce the acquisition of a new hyperbaric oxygen chamber designed specifically for veterinary patients. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has long been available and used in human medicine, with thousands of research publications reporting on the beneficial effects on medical treatments in people. While HBOTs use in veterinary medicine has been limited, there is a great deal of crossover in HBOT's beneficial uses for veterinary and human patients. The role of hyperbaric oxygen in veterinary patients has really come to fruition over the last decade. While HBOT in veterinary medicine is relatively new, hyperbaric oxygen treatments are becoming more and more available for veterinary patients. South Paws is currently the only veterinary practice in Louisiana that is able to offer these cutting edge treatments to our veterinary patients.

South Paws currently has two Certified Veterinary Hyperbaric Technologists through the National Board of Diving and Hyperbaric Medical Technology:

Robert Hancock, DVM, MS, ACVS, CHT-V
Catherine Provost, CHT-V

South Paws Veterinary Specialists

South Paws is a VHMS (Veterinary Hyperbaric Medical Society) approved facility that consists of both a veterinary hyperbaric chamber and certified veterinary hyperbaric operators that meet or exceed VHMS qualifications. A VHMS approved facility provides the maximum safety precautions for patients and the highest standard of operator training.

Why HBOT works

South Paws Veterinary Specialists

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is based on the scientific principal known as Henry's law. During a HBOT treatment at South Paws, a patient is placed in a comfortable, hyperbaric chamber for approximately 1 hour while the hyperbaric oxygen treatment occurs. The process is safe, painless, and most patients take a long nap during the treatment.

While in the hyperbaric chamber, our patients inhale 100% oxygen at a higher pressure (1.5-2 ATA) than normal (1 ATA). The increased pressure in the chamber allows the blood plasma to absorb a much larger quantity of oxygen (15 X normal). HBOT greatly increases oxygen delivery to cells, tissues, glands, and other organs. This is extremely important for patients that have undergone surgery, have orthopedic or sports medicine injuries, wounds and burns, as well as any injury where blood flow has been compromised to the tissues.

HBOT enables oxygen to reach damaged tissues at least 3 to 4 times the depth normally diffused by red blood cells. This is very important in swollen and inflamed tissues, where small blood vessels have been spread apart and oxygen from red blood cells is often unable to diffuse out far enough to supply the needs of damaged cells. HBOT improves wound healing, allows for increased circulation, decreases swelling/edema and inflammation, enhances the white blood cells' ability to fight infection, and increases stem cell production and circulation. 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.

Conditions that Benefit From Hyperbaric Oxygen

South Paws Veterinary Specialists
  • Post Surgical – HBOT benefits any postoperative orthopedic, neurologic, or soft tissue surgery through the reduction of swelling and edema, improved circulation to the surgical site, decreased risk for infection, and faster tissue healing. This is why every patient that undergoes surgery at South Paws receives a hyperbaric oxygen treatment in the postoperative period.
  • Wound healing - Non-Healing Wounds (wounds where blood supply is diminished)
    • Burns
    • Snake and Spider Bites - initial swelling and necrosis does not occur or is significantly reduced with HBOT intervention
    • Post Radiation Wounds
  • Infected Wounds and Abscesses - Allows for oxygen and antibiotic penetration into poorly circulated areas
    • Crush Injuries (Dog bites and injuries cause by vehicles)
    • Post Pyometra
    • Post Pyothorax
    • Post TECABO procedures for chronic ear infections
  • Spinal Injury
    • Intervertebral disc herniation - Significantly helps decrease edema, swelling, inflammation, and reperfusion injury to the spinal cord pre-and post-decompressive intervertebral disc extrusion surgery
    • Vertebral Fractures and Acute Spinal Trauma
    • FCE (fibrocartilaginous embolism) and degenerative myelopathy
    • Diskospondylitis
    • Brain – HBOT causes marked reduction in edema and returns patients to consciousness after head trauma. Has the potential to reverse damage to brain and spinal cord quickly
    • Meningitis- Granulomatous Meningoencephalitis (GME) symptoms respond well due to decreased inflammation.
  • Regenerative Medicine – HBOT has the ability to increase the production and circulation of stem cells 8 times greater than in normal conditions. This is critical for improving regeneration and healing of damaged tissues.
  • Fractures – HBOT decreases post fracture pain and significantly slows edema, swelling, and inflammation. Increases circulation to the surrounding tissues, decreases infection rates, increases fibroblast stimulation, and speeds bone healing.
  • Thermal Burns - Increased survival rates overall for burn victims, improved tissue viability, and decreased risk for infection.
  • Skin Grafts and Flaps: Soft tissue reconstruction procedures that involve the creation of skin flaps or grafts heal faster, with less risk of infection, and improved viability of the skin. HBOT stimulates and increases new blood supply and decreases inflammation at the surgery site.
  • Osteomyelitis - HBOT improves fibroblast function, is synergistic with antibiotics, and potentiates the antibiotic's ability to kill bacteria.
  • South Paws Veterinary Specialists
  • Hepatic, Renal and Bowel Inflammation – HBOT is very useful in the post-operative treatment of bowel inflammation. In most of these situations, blood supply to the organ is compromised by swelling, edema, and inflammation.
    • Intestinal resection anastomosis, intestinal foreign body or obstruction
    • GDV (Aka. Stomach Bloat)
    • Intestinal ileus
    • Necrotizing cholecystitis
    • Pancreatitis, particularly when associated with severe edema and hemorrhage
    • Peritonitis – Abdominal infections that are associated with mixed bacterial infections: HBOT decreases inflammation, improves penetration of antibiotics to all areas of bowel and within peritoneal fluid, potentiates the antibiotics, and improves healing.
  • Poisonings (carbon monoxide, cyanide, smoke inhalation etc.) - HBOT quickly replaces carbon monoxide and other noxious gases. This is commonly used in human medicine post smoke inhalation during a house fire.
  • Lyme Disease - The organism, Borrelia burgdorferi does not thrive or survive well in a hyperbaric environment.
  • Decreases reperfusion injury: In cases of splenic, liver lobe, lung lobe, or stomach torsion
  • Pain Management - Swelling, edema, and inflammation are decreased, tissue oxygenation improves, potentiates some pain medications
  • Ischemic shock or following any acute hypoxic episodes
    • Near drowning/Near hanging
  • Severe sinusitis or septic rhinitis - Antibiotic delivery is improved, inflammation is decreased, pain is reduced
  • Aortic embolization - in both cats and dogs - HBOT provides pure oxygen delivery and decreased reperfusion injury
  • Cerebrovascular accident (Canine Stroke)
  • Shock and VPC arrhythmias - Cardiac disease (Traumatic Myocarditis) where ischemia is present and cardiac muscle is damaged
  • And a huge list of additional benefits and therapies…

South Paws Veterinary Specialists is now accepting outpatient referrals for hyperbaric oxygen treatments

Click for numerous white paper studies on Hyperbaric Medicine





Case Studies

Non-healing wound




Large wound




Snake bite on the face




Oral trauma and swelling




Upper molar tooth root abscess




For more information on HBOT, visit: www.hvmed.com