February 6, 2018

Dental Surgery

Anesthesia for your pet…5 facts to put your mind at ease

by Aili V. Heintz, DVM

Anesthesia….not only is it hard to spell, but for many people the thought of it induces mild anxiety. The idea of giving a pet anesthesia for surgery or dental work can scare many people. Some people postpone or forgo important care for their pets because they are afraid of their pets being under anesthesia. If this idea scares you too, you are not alone!

We frequently hear from people that they are more concerned about the anesthesia than they are about the actual surgical or dental procedure being done for their pets. Here are five things that we do at Countrycare Animal Complex to help ensure the smoothest and safest anesthesia experience for your pet from start to finish.

1. Individual Treatment Plans

We look at each pet as an individual. Anesthesia is not “one size fits all” in the animal world. Not every anesthetic drug is safe for every patient, and we take that into account when planning what medications to use. We consider the specific conditions or medical issues that your pet has in order to develop the safest plan for your pet.

2. Pre-anesthetic Blood Work

Checking your pet’s blood levels allows the veterinarian to make sure that the kidneys and liver are working properly and can tolerate anesthesia and pain medications. Using results from the test, the doctor can identify any health issues that might compromise the procedure. Some veterinary clinics require pre-anesthetic blood work, and some clinics give pet owners the option of having it done. I recommend having your pet’s blood tested prior to your pet’s surgery or dental procedure.

3. Certified Veterinary Technicians

While your pet is under anesthesia, the surgical technician will closely supervise all of his vital signs. At Countrycare Animal Complex, the surgical technician is a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) who is trained to recognize and respond to emergent situations. This CVT will ensure that your pet is doing well under anesthesia and will make certain that he is not sleeping too deeply and is not feeling any pain.

4. Medical Monitoring Equipment

The equipment that we use is very similar to that of human anesthesiologists. These machines monitor temperature, blood pressure, heart rate and rhythm, oxygen levels, and respiratory patterns. The information that we get from the machines helps us to make sure that your pet is stech monitoring pet after anesthesialeeping safely and comfortably for the procedure. If, at any time, we see that there are any problems, we can change our anesthesia or make adjustments to ensure the safety of your pet.

5. Post-Procedure Monitoring

We monitor your pet throughout the recovery phase. Just because we are finished with your pet’s actual procedure doesn’t mean that we stop monitoring him. Post-procedure monitoring is crucial to making sure that your pet wakes up comfortably and smoothly after anesthesia.

After the surgical procedure, we will wrap your pet in cozy fleece blankets and place him on a warmed heating pad. These items help your pet maintain proper body temperature during recovery. We will continue to monitor your pet’s temperature, heart rate, and respiratory rate throughout recovery. From start to finish, we take every precaution necessary to ensure the safety and comfort of your precious pet!

If you have postponed recommended services because of anesthesia, talk to your veterinarian today. Express your concerns. Learn about what your clinic will do to provide the best possible care for your pet. “Anesthesia” will always be hard to spell, but it doesn’t have to be scary!

Dr. Heintz is a small and exotic animal veterinarian at Countrycare Animal Complex in Green Bay, WI. She earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from University of Illinois – Urbana/Champaign. Her passion is helping all animals, whether furry, scaly, or feathered, lead long and healthy lives.