Objective—To assess the perioperative and postoperative complications associated with use of vascular access ports (VAPs) in the jugular and lateral saphenous veins of dogs requiring frequent anesthetic episodes for radiation therapy.
Animals—40 dogs referred to a veterinary teaching hospital.
Procedures—VAPs were used in 23 dogs, and intravenous catheters inserted in a peripheral vein were used in 17 dogs. The frequency of perioperative and postoperative complications associated with VAP use and the frequency of infection associated with intravenous catheter use were recorded. Results of bacterial culture of VAP tips and amount of time required for VAP placement and removal and for anesthetic induction were also recorded.
Results—VAP-associated perioperative complications included malposition of the catheter tip in 4 of 23 (17.4%) dogs. The VAP-associated postoperative complications included seroma formation in 7 (30.4%) dogs, breakage of port-anchoring sutures in 3 (13.0%) dogs, suspected fatal catheter-related septicemia in 1 (4.3%) dog, and temporary partial withdrawal occlusion in 18 of 255 (7.1%) anesthetic episodes.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Placement of VAPs provided ready access in dogs receiving radiation therapy. Most complications were minor and self-limiting; however, a low risk of serious complications existed. Use of fluoroscopy to assess position of the catheter tip is recommended to decrease the risk of malposition. Immediate removal of a VAP is recommended when clinical signs of infection develop. Removal of a VAP at the completion of radiation therapy should be performed unless the benefit of continued vascular access outweighs the risks.