In many patient care plans, keeping track of weight gain in neonatal animals is critical. Having an accurate weight record allows veterinarians to ensure that their patients are growing at a healthy rate and to detect circumstances that may necessitate intervention or supportive treatment.
For the first few weeks of life, many neonatal patients should be weighed several times a day to confirm that they are gaining weight with each feeding. Weight checks can be lowered to once a day as they grow older, but for the first few months of life, the weight increase is an important developmental milestone.
Scale Features for Neonatal Patient Weighing
When caring for and treating neonatal animals, make sure your scale has a small enough resolution to reliably capture even the tiniest patients’ weight. For at least the first few days of life, some patients may be so little that a precision laboratory balance is the best option.
Many juvenile animals, on the other hand, can be precisely weighed using a scale that can detect weights as low as 1 gramme or 0.05 ounces for creatures weighing less than 5 kilogrammes or 10 pounds. Some scales feature dual-range weighing capabilities, which means they have two capacity ranges, the lowest of which provides more accuracy.
A dual-range scale, for example, may catch weights ranging from 0 to 10 pounds in 0.05-ounce increments (0 to 5 kilogrammes in 1-gram), but weights ranging from 10 to 33 pounds in 0.1-ounce increments (5 to 15 kilogrammes in 2-gram).
A scale with movement compensation technology may be required for active or mobile patients. Scales with this technology can deliver a constant, accurate weight reading by monitoring any movements from your patients. You may also require a scale with locking units of measure to prevent the scale from being unintentionally shifted from pounds to kilogrammes or vice versa.
When working with neonatal animals, removable, easy-to-clean trays can be useful. If you need to measure an animal’s length or width, look for a scale with a built-in measuring tape on the tray, which allows you to record body length and weight at the same time.
Power source and display are two further scale features to consider. Although automated shut-off scales can extend battery life, having an AC adaptor on hand allows you to anticipate low-battery notifications and ensure that the scale is always ready when you need it. Patient weight checks can be made easier with an easy-to-read display and simple operation. If a pad or blanket is placed on the tray before weighing neonatal patients, it should be simple for operators to tare the scale (set it to zero).