Invention helps vets with emergency cat care

An invention made by a veterinarian enrolled at the University may give cats around the world something to purr about.

Robert O’Brien, professor in veterinary medicine, is the inventor of the VetMouseTrap, a light–weight, portable oxygen cage that can alleviate stress on cats in respiratory distress. While inside the VetMouseTrap, cats can receive oxygen and do not need to be removed from the box in order to receive a CT scan.

“I think thousands of animals a month across the nation would benefit from practices having this sort of device,” O’Brien said.

Mauria O’Brien, a veterinarian at the University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital who specializes in emergency care, uses the VetMouseTrap in her practice. Mauria said cats in respiratory distress are particularly fragile and can be “on edge” during the initial examination in the doctor’s office.

“The mousetrap has been a tremendous boon to our cats in respiratory distress,” she said. “The mousetrap allows us to provide the needed oxygen while imaging them without ever laying a hand on them.”

Mauria said the VetMouseTrap has enabled her to provide faster care for cats in emergency situations.

“We get our answers much sooner with the mousetrap allowing us to provide the proper therapy much faster than before,” she said.

O’Brien has received interest from veterinarians overseas, primarily through word of mouth. Currently, O’Brien makes the devices one or two at a time and said he plans on sending out mouse traps free of charge to those who requested one.

He said money is not what inspires him to promote the VetMouseTrap.

“Money has always been on the back burner for me,” O’Brien added. “Maybe it will make money for the University. Maybe it will make money for me. I don’t care. My goals first and foremost are for the health and benefit of the patient and what we can learn from these diseases.”

O’Brien said general veterinary practitioners around the world could benefit from having a VetMouseTrap.

“If we sent the word out that we have an inexpensive oxygen cage, we’d probably get a thousand orders tomorrow. I don’t want to market these until I have a network set up so I could fill the orders that we would be getting,” he said.

Susan Hartman, a senior imaging specialist in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, uses the VetMouseTrap on a regular basis. Hartman said she believes the VetMouseTrap could be useful to any veterinary facility.

“I think every facility could benefit from it. Everyone has cats that come in and respiratory distress is a big thing. I think it something that is very applicable in any animal hospital,” she said.