To ensure a safe veterinary practice, it's essential that you have a well-maintained anesthesia machine. Not only does good maintenance reduce gas consumption and extend the life of your machine, it reduces pollution and keeps animals safer. Reliable veterinary anesthesia systems ensure that animals are properly sedated and help eliminate the possibility of pain and suffering during procedures. 

Daily Leak Checks

Anesthesia machine vendors recommend that you perform daily leak checks. It only takes a few minutes and helps ensure that everything is operating correctly. Not only do leaks increase your cost, but they may cause unsafe levels of pollution for vet nurses. In addition, having a leak could mean that the animals don't receive the proper level of sedation that you intended. Follow these simple steps at the start of your day to check for leaks

  • Connect the circuit hose to the fresh gas outlet and use your thumb to plug the hose. 
  • Open the oxygen flowmeter to 200mL and close the gas evacuation valve.
  • Press down on the oxygen flush button until manometer indicates 30 cm H2O pressure.

Look for the pressure to remain steady for at least 10 seconds. If the pressure drops before this time, you have a leak and will need to identify the source.


Sick animals can spread illnesses to each other through the use of machine components, such as breathing bags and tubes. If your practice stocks single-use bags and tubes, then you can simply throw them away after each use. However, if your system utilizes reusable bags and tubes it's best to keep them clean to prevent the spread of illnesses. You can do so by soaking them in a disinfectant solution for about 10 minutes. These components can wear out quickly, so you'll also want to check them for holes, cracks, including the base of the bag connection on your device.

Test and Replace Soda Lime

Soda lime is a crucial component of your anesthesia system as it contains a dye that changes color to indicate the absorption of carbon dioxide. Unfortunately, soda lime has a relatively short life-span of about 14 hours, after which time the color indicator becomes unreliable. If the soda lime isn't changed in a timely manner, the animal could breathe in excess carbon dioxide. It's recommended that you don't rely on the color change to tell when it is time to change the soda lime. Instead test it yourself by pressing a small amount between your fingers. Soda lime that is still good will turn into a fine dust. Make sure to wear gloves.