What You Need to Know About Anesthesia

One of the main reasons pet owners do not want to have a dental cleaning or procedure done is because of Anesthesia. They worry about the risk of having their pet ‘put to sleep’ or ‘under’ anesthesia. But we are here to reassure you!

Anesthesia has come a long way in the past 10 years. Medications have changed, we have learned the reactions to specific breeds and we can tailor the anesthetics to each individual pet. Pets are closely monitored by the veterinarian and technician, complex monitoring equipment and pets are supported by external heat sources and fluid therapy.

When a dog is under anesthetic there are several areas that are closely monitored and constantly assessed by the technician and veterinarian.

  • Heart rate and sound
  • Blood pressure
  • Oxygenation of blood
  • Levels of CO2
  • Temperature
  • Respiration rate and lung sound
  • Gum colour and tissue profusion

What can owners do to help provide the safest anesthesia for their pets?

Follow your veterinarian’s instructions – fasting overnight may seem hard on your food loving hound but it is very important! When pets are under anesthesia they lose their ability to swallow and protect their airways. If they have recently eaten they can vomit and aspirate the food or bile leading to a severe lung infection or they can choke when they are waking up.

Tell them about any and all medications or supplements – medications do not always interact well with each other and even if they don’t seem related or important they can impact your pet’s health.

Pre-anesthetic Bloodwork

Some veterinary clinics make this is mandatory, others it comes highly recommended. The purpose behind checking blood level before a surgery (be it a dental, spay or neuter) no matter how ‘simple’ the procedure or ‘healthy’ your pet may seem it is always important to know what is going on inside before we use any type of medication.

What are we checking (at Mayfield Veterinary Clinic)?

We check a variety of levels and components to your pet’s blood. First we do a Complete Blood Count (CBC), this looks at their Red Blood Cells (carrier of oxygen), White Blood Cells (immunity and infection fighters), platelets (ability to clot blood), and several hydration and concentration levels. Second we check their electrolytes to ensure everything is in balance. Several of the liver and kidney levels are evaluated next. Ranges are set to help determine what the ‘normal range’ is for each test done, unfortunately dogs and cats do not read the textbook and they will all vary slightly. If there are slight changes to one of the organs we can tailor the anesthetic better to that individual pet (ie. If a liver value is elevated we use medications that work primarily in the kidneys).

Written by: Mayfield Veterinary Clinic