Anesthesia and Your Pet
Anesthesia has come a long way in both the human side of medicine as well as the pet side. Advancements in which drugs are safest to use in older or compromised pets is astounding. Many pet parents cringe when the doctor brings up a procedure where anesthesia is necessary. It is important to address all of your concerns with your vet so everyone feels comfortable about the procedure. Here is a simple breakdown of how veterinary medicine works to reduce anesthetic complications.
Pre-surgery is the most important step for ensuring things will go as smoothly as possible. The veterinarian will perform a physical exam checking your pet’s vital signs such as heart rate and quality, temperature and respiration rate and quality. It is important that you share any known history if your pet has had a prior bad experience under anesthesia and any medications, even over the counter ones your pet is on. Many clinics require pre-anesthetic bloodwork to be done to check liver and kidney levels (the organs that metabolize the anesthetic drugs) as well as many other parameters to ensure the drug protocol they choose is going to work safely for your pet.
If the bloodwork and exam check out ok and surgery gets the green light here are the common safety measures veterinarians and technicians take. An IV catheter is most commonly placed, this allows your pet to be on fluids throughout the procedure so they stay properly hydrated but it also allows quick access in the case of an emergency if they needed any additional drugs. Many clinics have state of the art monitoring machines as well, these machines measure heart rate, ECG, respiratory rate, blood pressure, as well as some other fancy monitoring parameters to help gauge depth of anesthesia. Another invaluable tool is the certified veterinary technician, these techs have gone through 2 years of rigorous training in all things veterinary, anesthesia being a big one. The technicians have been trained not only to use the monitoring machines but also certain parameters to monitor on the patient such as position of the eye, jaw tone, and gum color.
Post surgery care is just as important as pre and during the procedure. Your pet will be kept after the surgery to ensure they are waking up ok and being kept warm as anesthesia can affect their body temperature. The doctor or technician will go over any after care instructions for you to follow once your pet arrives back home, this includes if it’s ok to give them water and food, any medications that are sent and if they’ll need the dreaded e-collar. Now that you see all that is put into anesthesia for your cat or dog the higher cost hopefully makes more sense!