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Testing refrigeration trucks for the emergency evacuation of companion animals

By V. A. Langman, N. Ellifrit, D. Sime, M. Rowe, A. Hogue

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The purpose of this study was to quantify the changes in oxygen (O 2) and carbon dioxide (CO 2) in sealed refrigerator trucks scheduled to be used for transporting companion animals (dogs and cats) during an emergency evacuation. A total of 122 nonhuman animals (total weight=1,248 kg) housed in individual crates were loaded into a 16-m refrigeration truck. Once they were loaded, the doors were closed and the percentages of O 2 and CO 2 were measured every 5 min by O 2 and CO 2 analyzers, and they were used to quantify the changes in gas pressure in the sealed truck. CO 2 had a much higher-than-predicted increase, and O 2 had a higher-than-predicted decrease. These 2 pressures in combination with the functionality of the respiratory system will limit the animal's ability to load O 2, and over time, they will initiate asphyxia or suffocation. Over time, the partial pressure of oxygen (P O2) in the sealed truck will decrease, causing hypoxia, and the partial pressure of carbon dioxide (P CO2) will increase, causing hypercapnia.

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 18
Issue 4
Pages 398-403
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705
DOI 10.1080/10888705.2015.1042153
Language English
Author Address Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Animal Care, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2150 Centre Ave., Bldg. B, Mail Stop #3W11, Fort Collins, CO 80526,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animals
  2. Animal welfare
  3. Asphyxia
  4. Blood
  5. Canidae
  6. Canine
  7. Carbon dioxide
  8. Carnivores
  9. Cats
  10. Dogs
  11. Hypoxia
  12. Mammals
  13. oxygen
  14. oxygen deficiency
  15. peer-reviewed
  16. Pets and companion animals
  17. respiratory health
  18. respiratory system
  19. vertebrates
  1. peer-reviewed