Posted on 03-22-2014
Anesthesia…. Just saying the word evokes reaction in many people. Sometimes it’s based on personal experiences, while others are stories or memories from past veterinary visits. None the less, most are aware that it is not something that should be taken lightly. But, most are also aware that it is sometimes necessary. We should always weigh the pros vs. cons, the risks vs. rewards when electing to perform anesthesia.
One of the most important factors in undergoing anesthesia is to first make sure we are dealing with a healthy patient. While sometimes we have no option in emergency situations, more often than not, we do with our “elective procedures” (spay, neuter, dental cleanings, etc.). This is the reason we might recommend any number of tests BEFORE anesthesia. These might include anything from routine blood work, to a urinalysis, to an echocardiogram if we are concerned about a heart murmur (an abnormal noise heard in a stethoscope). Being aware of any underlying problems is an important first step. This reminds me of something we often say…. “In theory, the risk of anesthesia for a healthy four year old dog/cat is the exact same for a healthy twelve year old dog/cat. The operative word is, healthy!”
Once the decision is made to move forward with anesthesia the next step is individualized care and excellent patient monitoring. The idea here is to deal with issues before they become a problem. Each dog and cat is given a particular combination and dose of medications best suited for them. This is followed by each and every patient getting an IV catheter and being carefully watched with blood pressure monitors, an ecg, a capnograph, temperature probes, etc. Those might not mean a lot to you, but they are extremely important to us.
It must be mentioned that the risk level for anesthesia will, unfortunately, never reach zero. But we pride ourselves in trying to get as close to that as possible.
Please call us with any and all questions you might have.
- Dr. Andy
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