What dosage of medication should be prescribed to an animal? This question must be answered many times each day in a veterinarian office. Humans are usually assigned a fairly standard dosage. An adult may be told to take 2 aspirin. A child should only take one. And a baby may be given a special dosage of baby aspirin. This may not be a very exact system. One adult may weigh only 98 lb. Another may weigh more than 300 lb. Occasionally, a doctor may choose to vary the dosage based on the size of the patient. This situation is much more dramatic for many animals. A small variety adult dog may weigh only 3 lb. A very large variety may weigh more than 200 lb. Clearly, it would be inappropriate to use the same dosage of medication for both dogs. While this may be important when prescribing vitamins or other supplements, it may be absolutely critical when determining dosages for anesthetic used during a procedure. Animal Scales are used to obtain the correct weight of an animal. A standard veterinarian scale may have a capacity of 500 lb. The platform size should be large enough to weigh even the largest dogs. One typical size is 22 x 44. It is useful for the electronic scale to be able to display small weight increments. Generally 1/10 of a pound is sufficient. This allows the animal scale to also be used for smaller animals, such as cats or puppies. For much smaller animals, such as birds, gerbils, and small reptiles, a scale with greater accuracy should be used. These smaller scales may have a capacity of 25 lb, and a readability of 0.005 lb (better than 1/10 of an ounce). The platform size can also be smaller. In this case it is 12 x 16. There are a number of special features that are useful for a veterinarian scale. It is hard to have an animal stay still while it is being weighed. This can result in significant uncertainty as to the actual weight. A digital scale may be programmed with a special algorithm which will extract the true weight of an animal that may be moving energetically. One method provided by Arlyn Scales is known as Weight Average and Hold. When a button is pushed on the electronic scale indicator, the scale begins to take weight readings quite rapidly. The scale’s internal microcomputer averages those readings that it determines are valid. It excludes the readings that may have been affected by the moving animal. When enough correct readings are obtained, the appropriate average is displayed on the screen. That weight value will remain on the display until the animal is removed from the platform. The value can be recorded, and then the button is pushed again to reset the scale. Animal scales should be fabricated so that they may be easily cleaned. Using water and mild cleansers should not have a negative effect on the scale. Painted steel components are not ideal. A good powder coat or epoxy paint may protect the scale at first. But as soon as the coating is scratched, rust will begin to form on the steel. This corrosion will actually migrate underneath the paint in areas that may still have a good coating. Eventually, the integrity of the scale assembly will be influenced. A better choice is to use a material which will not rust. For larger scale platforms, aluminum is an excellent choice. Washing with water will not cause rust. As an added benefit, aluminum construction provides a very rugged scale but results in a light weight unit. This makes the scale much easier to move around within an office environment. The most important part of any animal scale are the load sensors. These devices sense the weight on the scale platform. Electronic components on the load cell change the weight sensing into an electronic signal. The digital indicator processes this electronic signal into a digital number that is shown on the weight display. The load sensors can be easily damaged by water and animal wastes and by rough use. While most scales use load sensors that are made from aluminum, this is not the best choice. High quality animal scales manufactured by Arlyn Scales uses a unique formulation of stainless steel that provides the best combination of ruggedness and protection from liquids. A special coating is then placed over the electronic components on the load sensor for even better protection.
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