WHEN YOUR PET NEEDS ANESTHESIA
As in human medicine, our furry friends may require anesthesia as part of a surgery or procedure. Some veterinary procedures need to be performed with your pet under anesthesia (for example: dentistry, surgery, and some diagnostic imaging).
General anesthesia is achieved by administering drugs that suppress your pet’s nerve response. During general anesthesia, your pet is in an unconscious state, unable to move and doesn’t feel any pain. Anesthesia can also be administered locally, to numb a specific area or part of the body—such as a tooth, and area of the skin.
We provide a wide variety of anesthetic procedures from routine spaying and neutering to more complex surgeries such as gastropexies, mass removals, exploratory laparotomy, cystotomies, enucleations, and amputations. Whatever the circumstance, our staff is dedicated to providing the best care to your pets.
Unfortunately, like any medical procedure, anesthesia does have risks. These risks can run from minor problems, such as mild vomiting after recovery from anesthesia, to life-threatening problems such as cardiac arrest or stroke. We take every precaution possible and employ the most up-to-date surgical practices to ensure that your pet's recovery goes seamlessly.
Prior to receiving anesthesia, our veterinarians will perform a physical exam on your pet, review your pet’s medical history. Our veterinarians may also perform blood tests on your pet to check for any indications of a medical problem or anesthetic risk.
Prior to anesthesia, your pet will likely be given a pre-anesthetic sedative to reduce his or her stress and ease the process. An intravenous catheter is then placed to allow administration of fluids and medications. The anesthetic will be delivered by gas inhalation, intravenous infusion, or a combination of the two.
While under anesthesia, your pet will receive monitoring and care comparable to what you'd receive if you underwent anesthesia. Your pet will receive intravenous fluids and/or medications to support your pet's circulation and blood pressure; an endotracheal tube inserted into your pet's trachea (windpipe) to deliver the anesthetic gas and provide oxygen to your pet's lungs; pulse oximetry to measure the oxygenation of your pet's blood; blood pressure monitoring; temperature monitoring and warming blankets to prevent hypothermia (low body temperature); and electrocardiography (ECG, also called EKG) to monitor the electrical activity of your pet's heart.
Once the procedure is done and it's time for your pet to wake up from the anesthesia, the endotracheal tube is only removed when your pet is awake enough to swallow normally. Your pet will then be placed in a quiet kennel to recover. Pets are closely monitored during this time to ensure that they are recovering normally and that care is provided quickly should any problems arise. Heat pads and blankets are used to keep your pet warm during recovery.
Depending on the procedure, your pet's medical condition, and their place in our surgical queue, he/she may be ready anywhere from early to late afternoon (once adequately recovered from anesthesia) or he or she may need to remain in the hospital for longer.
After your pet's recovery, the doctor or one of our staff members will give you a call to let you know how the procedure went, when your pet will be ready for pick up, and answer any follow up questions that you may have.
At discharge our staff will go over the procedure, discharge instructions, medications, set up a follow-up exam/suture removal if needed, and answer any questions you may have in regards to your pet's at-home recovery. Feel free to ask as many questions as needed to ensure that you are comfortable with all discharge instructions.
WHAT YOU CAN DO DO REDUCE YOUR PET'S RISK?
Let our veterinarians know if your pet has ever had a reaction to sedation or anesthesia.
Make sure our veterinarians are aware of all medications and supplements (including over-the-counter products) your pet is receiving.
Keep your pet healthy with regular preventive care
Keep your pet at a healthy weight
Take steps to prevent injuries to your pet whenever possible (avoiding emergencies that may require anesthesia)
Follow instructions before anesthesia, especially with regards to withholding food and/or water
Follow our veterinarians instructions regarding any medications you should – or should not – give to your pet prior to anesthesia