5 Questions To Ask Before Anesthesia
Phil Zeltzman, DVM, DACVS, CVJ and
Kelly Serfas, Certified Veterinary Technician PostedJuly 10, 2013 in Pet Health
1. What are the risks of anesthesia
for my pet?
Some pets are ideal candidates for anesthesia, like a healthy 6 month old
kitten who needs to be neutered. Others can present significant risks
because of a variety of health conditions: heart murmur, liver disease,
infection etc. If your pet has a flat face (brachycephalic breeds such as a
Himalayan cat or a Bulldog), there is an increased risk of complications
before, during and after anesthesia. Therefore, special precautions should be
taken at every step - which you should discuss with your vet. Chubby patients
are at a higher risk for anesthesia because they don't breathe well.
2. Will my pet have an IV catheter
and IV fluids?
The duration and invasiveness of the procedure will usually determine if your
vet will place an IV catheter and give IV fluids. For minor procedures
(radiographs, bandage placement, nail trim), it may not be necessary. For
others (most surgeries, dental procedures), it is very beneficial to place an
IV catheter and give IV fluids. The catheter helps administering anesthesia
drugs and pain medications and the IV fluids help maintain proper organ
function, starting with the kidneys.
3. Who will monitor my pet?
In a perfect world, all patients under anesthesia would be monitored by a
veterinary nurse or technician who has been specifically trained to perform and
adjust anesthesia. Even better, this person should ideally stay with your pet
during and after anesthesia at all times
4. How will my pet be monitored?
These days, pets can be monitored almost as well as people. We can track heart
beats, EKG, blood pressure, oxygen levels, CO2 levels, temperature, respiration
rates and more. The more we know about what's going on inside a patient, the
safer the anesthesia is. Now different clinics offer different levels of
monitoring. Most clinics these days can monitor oxygen levels. However,
few can track CO2, even though it’s a very important piece of information. An
experienced technician will also rely on his or her senses, including
listening, touching, and observing the patient..
5. Who will recover my pet?
Waking up from anesthesia is half the battle. More pets actually get in trouble
after anesthesia than during anesthesia. Therefore, it is very important to
continue monitoring patients very closely after they wake up.
No matter how hard we try, there
will always be risks with every anesthesia. Our job is to minimize or manage
those risks. At the end of the conversation, you should feel like your pet will
be in the capable hands of professionals.