How to build an oxygen chamber for your cat
(or have it built for you)
For us, the approximate cost for us to have the Oxygen Chamber built was less than $1,000…. about $300 for the custom built chamber + the cost of several oxygen tanks and equipment, listed below. This was back in 2001, so the cost will have increased over time, but it gives you an ball park idea.
Of course, your cost could also vary quite a bit up or down depending on how fancy you want it to be, how many tanks you decide you want to have on hand and local cost variations.
We never experienced a problem with heat build-up, possibly due to the large size of the chamber, we did use a thermometer to monitor the temperature. I would consult with a vet on how you would regulate the temperature should you need it.
List of most of the equipment and materials needed for the oxygen chamber:
Medical Oxygen Cylinders (42 cubic foot capacity each) I got them at a welding supply company. Make sure it is Medical Grade oxygen. The company that bottled and distributed our oxygen is Air Liquide. You might have one of their outlets in your area, if so, it might be cheaper than getting the same o2 at a welding supply as we did. Air Liquid’s medical oxygen comes with a dual lot number in two places: on a tag hanging on the cylinder and on a sticker glued to the cylinder itself.
I started with 2 cylinders but ended up getting 5 of these, just to have some extra oxygen on hand to spare in case there was a crisis over the weekend or a holiday. This was probably a bit overboard, but I’d want at least 3 to begin with… it sure felt good to see those cylinders waiting at the ready. Initial cost: $85.00 each.
When a cylinder is empty, you exchange it for a full cylinder for about $17.00
They last about 9 to 10 hours each at 2 LITERS OF OXYGEN PER MINUTE.
Your cat’s oxygen needs may vary. Consult your vet.
A caller has informed me that an economical type of oxygen one can use is “Aviator’s Oxygen” which comes in cylinders holding 350 cubic feet of oxygen, known as “T-sized” tanks (available at welding supply vendors and some medical supply houses) I was told it costs only $28 to refill one of these tanks.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Aviator’s oxygen has a slightly different composition than medical grade oxygen,
SO DO YOUR RESEARCH to be sure that it’s SAFE and EFFECTIVE for your cat!
Always do what you can to be sure your oxygen supplier is reputable, and your cylinder interiors are clean.
Some additional information on aviation oxygen
oxygen regulator made by:
Victor Medical Equipment Company
model # VMG-5LH
for a distributor near you, call
Hudson disposable humidifier (ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY!)
( catalog number 3230)
cost: $3 to $6 each, from a pharmacy by special order.
made by Hudson Respiratory Care Inc
This attaches to the regulator in order to dampen the oxygen, which is
otherwise MUCH too drying straight out of the cylinder.
Indoor Humidity Gauge / Thermometer
from Radio Shack
Cat # 63-1013
Attach this to the inside wall of the chamber with self adhesive velcro
Self-Adhesive Gasket ( must be highly compressible foam)
3/8″ thick 1/2″ wide for the chamber doorframe:
Item # 02097
Made by Macklanberg-Duncan
* 1/4″ thick clear plastic
OUTER DIMENSIONS: (Excluding hardware and door),
* 20″ high, 20″ wide, 28″ long
DOOR CUT-OUT DIMENSIONS & POSITION:
* One door on end of chamber, place bottom edge of door cut-out at 2″ above bottom of chamber, centered from left to right.
* Doorway cut-out size: 14″ x 14″
* Door should overlap doorway by 1″ all around, so gasket can be installed on door. (no gasket on chamber door-frame) Gasket is 3/8″ thick low density foam.
HINGES AND LATCHES
* Place door hinges on left side of door. * Left side of hinges
require 1/4″ thick plastic shim.
* Latch centered on right edge of door. * Latch receiver requires 1/4″
thick plastic shim.
GAS INPUT & EXHAUST HOLES:
* One oxygen input hole:
Please test hole size in relation to tubing, before drilling on chamber, because we are using 3/8″ outer diameter tubing ( # 4 RNT), and the hole should be just barely smaller than 3/8″, so we can force in hose good and tight, without needing any glue, but not so tight that the hose cannot be installed fairly quickly. Position the hole on the end of the chamber opposite from doorway, 6″ down from top edge of chamber, centered from left to right.
* 1/2″ diameter exhaust holes, positioned on the door-end of the chamber, (but not on the door), 3 on the upper right, 3 on the upper left, all hole centers 1.5″ down from the top edge of the chamber, hole centers to be spaced 1.5″ apart, with the holes nearest left and right sides of chamber to be 1.5″ from edges.
You can raise or lower the concentration of oxygen by corking the exhaust holes.
NEVER cork all exhaust holes! Of the six holes, the maximum we corked was four. We used test tube corks that had a max diameter of 15mm.
(available at a Scientific Supply House)
* Install handles on the top surface of the chamber, parallel to the ends of the chamber, centers 1.5″ in from the top edge of the chamber, centered from left to right. Handle screw centers are 4″ apart. Use fender washers on inner and outer surfaces of chamber to distribute load stresses.
I miscalculated the maximum transportable size for the chamber. I measured the car door opening, but failed to account for the angle of obstruction of the car door itself- it’s an inch or so too wide to pass easily by the door into the rear seats of the average car. It can be done but it’s a little too bulky and heavy at 42 pounds.
The exhaust holes ended up being put on the sides of the chamber, instead of the door end, because of load-bearing concerns. I wanted to put the holes on the door end to avoid the very slight chance that the holes might be obstructed if the chamber was placed in tight surroundings.
If you need more information: email us or call 503-682-4553