February 2, 2023
What to Know Before Your Pet Goes Under Anesthesia
One of the greatest fears that owners have concerning their pets is anesthesia — and with good reason. There are several potential issues that can arise when your pet is under, so you need to ensure that your pet is in capable hands when performing any procedure that requires anesthesia.
To feel more confident that your pet is safe, follow these precautions.
1. Ask your vet questions.
Does your vet pay close attention to details? Does he or she insist on pre-anesthetic blood profiles and perform a complete examination, especially listening to the heart and lungs and checking mucous-membrane color prior to anesthesia? You want to make sure your vet answers “yes” to all of these questions.
Other pre-anesthetic tests might include X-rays, urinalysis, electrocardiograms, and perhaps even ultrasound. If there are any questionable findings during the examination or an abnormal blood result, these concerns should be addressed before anesthesia so that there are no unpleasant surprises while your pet is under.
2. Provide detailed health info.
As a pet owner, you need to be proactive during drop-off by supplying accurate information to the anesthetist nurse/tech. This means taking the time to actively listen and give succinct, factual answers, rather than simply rushing off to work.
Anesthesia is serious, and vets need to know whether your pet has been properly fasted, has had a serious illness in the last 30 days, had his medication that morning, or is on any fatty-acid supplements, chondroitin, or meds that may increase bleeding or offset another.
3. Understand your vet’s procedure protocols.
Your veterinarian should select anesthesia protocols that are specific to your pet’s medical condition, such as intravenous drugs and/or gas anesthesia. Your pet should also have his vital signs monitored while under, which generally includes an EKG, pulse oximeter, and blood pressure and temperature monitor. Since pain can cause stress, medication should be administered, pre- and post-surgery, to ensure your pet’s comfort and safety.
Throughout all procedures at Fondren Pet Care, we have one to three veterinary technicians with your pet to observe vital signs — adding a human element to the high-tech equipment we use. Because anesthesia can drop your pet’s blood pressure, thus reducing blood flow to vital organs, an intravascular catheter and fluids are provided. Body temperature can also drop, so we provide safe and effective warming surfaces and blankets — not heating pads, which can cause skin burns.
Because small pets have more difficulty moving adequate amounts of air through their lungs while under anesthesia, we use a ventilator to control their breath rate and the volume of air. This equipment has been a life saver so many times during dental procedures we’ve performed that I no longer perform surgery of any kind without it.
Our veterinary staff members understand the loving bond you have with your pet, as well as the concerns and fears you might have about anesthesia. We encourage you to ask lots of questions so you can feel confident about your pet’s well-being. If you aren’t your pet’s best advocate, then who is?