Waste Anesthetic Gases (WAGs)

September 2016 by Karen Basher, LVT, VTS-Anesthesia

Audience: Executive Leadership, Veterinary Team

Video Length: 46 minutes

Waste anesthetic gases (WAGs) are anesthetic vapors that escape the patient and/or the anesthetic system and enter the environment. The inhalation anesthetic agents currently used in the veterinary profession are classified as "halogenated hydrocarbons.”  Without proper scavenging systems and preventative maintenance, WAGs can cause heath issues to personnel that are in constant contact.  These can be short term as well as long term side effects. The detection of WAGs by their odor alone would indicate the existence of very high levels, as these agents do not have a strong odor at low concentrations.  Some of the many ways to reduce exposure to WAGs is by having adequate ventilation, scavenging systems, and preventative maintenance done to anesthesia machines.  Pressure checking machines daily and prior to the start of each case is essential in eliminating WAGs. This presentation was recorded at the 2016 ASPCA Cornell Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine conference at Cornell University. 

About Karen Basher 

Karen has practiced as a licensed veterinary technician since 1995, after she graduated State University of New York at Delhi.  She worked in general practice for four years before switching to a private referral specialty hospital in 1998. Karen was a surgery/anesthesia technician for two years and enjoyed studying and learning about high-risk anesthesia.  She transferred to academia at Cornell University Hospital for Animals Anesthesia Department in 2000.  She achieved her veterinary technician specialty exam in 2007 and has been giving anesthesia lectures since 2014.



Content you may be interested in

Use social media to get more foster homes for big dogs

February 15, 2017

Can you save 44 large dogs’ lives in 14 days through the power of social media? Austin Pets Alive! (APA!) did just that, and in this recording from the 2015 Best Friends National Conference, Faith Wright tells you how you can, too! In Foster Faster: Growing Your Dog Foster Program, Wright says the trick is… Learn More

Adopted pets are rescued by love, saved by shelter medicine

February 9, 2017

If you’ve adopted a pet from an animal shelter or rescue group, you know how powerful the bond is that exists between the pet and their human family. You’re also probably aware of the efforts made by shelter and rescue staff and volunteers to make sure you and your pet found each other. What you… Learn More

Advances in pet databases can help your shelter or rescue group get more pets adopted

February 8, 2017

The technological revolution of the last 25 years has had a profound impact on the animal welfare industry. Things we now take for granted, like websites that display our organizations' services and adoptable pets, pet-search databases such as Petfinder.com and Adopt-a-Pet.com, more robust and easy to use animal sheltering software solutions, and the rise of… Learn More