You may be understandably anxious if your vet tells you that your beloved pet needs a procedure for which anesthesia is required.
But although there is always an element of risk involved, safety precautions and monitoring have improved enormously in recent years. Provided your pet has been in good general health and is thoroughly checked out beforehand, you can look forward to the procedure with confidence of a good outcome.
Why is Anesthesia Recommended
Your vet will always avoid anesthesia when it is possible to do so, but there are some necessary procedures which can’t be performed without it.
These are interventions or examinations which will cause pain to the animal or which require it to be immobilised if the procedure is to be carried out safely and accurately.
Common examples include dental treatments, diagnostic scans and of course any kind of surgery. More rarely, there may be no alternative to anesthesia if an animal requires emergency treatment for an acute condition or an accidental injury of some kind.
The Risks of Anesthesia
Most animals which undergo anesthesia experience either very minor and temporary ill-effects, or none at all, but a small proportion may suffer adverse reactions of some kind.
These range from nausea and vomiting to much more serious and potentially life-threatening issues including heart attack and stroke.
Keeping Your Pet Safe
The key to safe anesthesia is thorough preparation. Your vet will carefully examine your pet and take blood samples to check for any existing or developing condition which might affect their suitability for the procedure.
The vet will also review your pet’s medical history, particularly any previous experiences with anesthesia, and discuss with you any health or behavioral issues which may be relevant. If an animal’s general health is not felt to be good enough, anesthesia for non-urgent procedures may be postponed to allow corrective treatment to be given.
As the owner of an animal, it’s also important that you help the vet as much as possible in preparing your pet for anesthesia.
You should make sure that your vet has all relevant information including any over the counter medications or supplements you may be giving your pet, and follow any advice your vet gives you about these.
It’s also important to maintain your pet at a stable and healthy weight and to make sure your pet eats and drinks in accordance with your vet’s guidance in the days preceding the procedure.
During the procedure
Once anesthetized, your pet will be carefully monitored at all times. The vital signs to be checked will include respiration, heart function (by ECG monitor), body temperature and blood oxygenation and pressure.
Equipment, fluids and medication will be immediately at hand to support the animal’s breathing and circulation as necessary.
After your vet has completed the procedure your pet will continue to be closely monitored and kept warm and comfortable while they wake naturally from the anesthetic.
Find Out More
No competent vet will lightly undertake a procedure requiring general anesthesia and will only do so in cases where the benefits clearly outweigh the risks.
In the common instance of a simple but necessary treatment, eg dental work, for a generally healthy animal, this is normally a simple calculation. But the decision may be much more difficult in the case of older animals or those whose general health is giving cause for concern.
In either case you should be confident before authorizing any procedure that you fully understand the need for anesthesia and are comfortable with the preparations and arrangements in place to monitor your pet’s health.
At the University Animal Hospital we pride ourselves on treating your pet as we treat our own and we will be very happy to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about anesthesia or any other heath issue.
If you want to know more you can call us today on (480) 968-9275 or contact us online.