How to Ensure Safe Anaesthesia for Your Pet

Preparation is Everything when it comes to Anaesthesia

Many people are still quite afraid when they’re advised their pet needs surgery. And it seems the concerns are less about the procedure than the general anaesthesia required to perform the surgery.

And in a way, they have a point. Vets take anaesthesia very seriously because, regarless of all the precautions they take to minimise risks to your pet, there’s no such thing as a “100%” guarantee of safety.

Thankfully over the last few decades there have been great improvements in the quality and safety of anaesthetics in both the human and animal medical fields. For the most part, the agents used are extremely safe and adverse reactions are rare.

The Gold Standard for veterinary Anaesthesia these days is Gaseous Anaesthesia – namely Isofluorane. This is an extremely safe anaesthetic for young and old pets alike. Much safer indeed than previously used intravenous anaesthesia.

3 Steps Vets take to Ensure Safe Anaesthesia

  1. Detailed patient History and Physical exmination
  2. Pre – Anaesthetic Blood testing and i.v. Fluids during the procedure
  3. Patient monitoring – during and after surgery

Your vet starts by taking a detailed history of your pet to include any medications your pet may be on, vaccination status, heartworm status (dogs), previous illnesses, results of any previous tests and so on.Pre-Anaesthetic Blood Testing for Dogs

Your pet is then given a physical exam to check for any external abnormalities or signs of illness.

So now we know how your pet checks out on the outside but that leaves us with no idea about what’s going on internally – and that’s a concern.

Your vet will ask for your consent to run a simple blood test to check the overall health of your pet’s main organs (namely liver & kidney) – the ones most likely to be adversely affected by the anaesthetic medications if damaged in any way.

Without knowledge of any “hidden” disease – your pet’s life can be at risk.

The $95* Test That can Save a Life

Recommending Pre – Anaesthetic Blood Testing is your vet providing “Best Practice Medicine” and should not to be confused with upselling or recommending an “unessesary” procedure simply to make more money.

Similarly – asking for your consent to provide important iv fluids through a drip to maintain your pet’s blood pressure and temperature and help flush the toxic anaesthetic by – products from the body after surgery is equally important. It also helps speed up and smooth out the recovery process.

Studies have shown that a small percentage of pets develop kidney dysfunction or failure 7 – 14 days after having general anaesthesia. This risk is reduced significantly by providing i.v. fluids during surgery.

Yes, both of these “procedures” can be declined – perhaps due to cost but at the same time you need to be aware of what you’re leaving on the table.

Many diseases such as kidney or liver disease do not show up externally until quite a bit of damage has already occurred and it’s these hidden problems that can put your pet at risk from anaesthesia.

This is why always recommend Pre – Anaesthetic blood testing for all our surgical patients including all desexings – especially those in their middle to senior years.

The Good News is – this simple and potentially life saving test is most often performed in the clinic’s own laboratory just prior to surgery. Results are then immediately available. This means you don’t need an extra trip to your vet.

* Fees may vary between clinics

Why Do I Have to Sign a Consent Form for Anaesthesia?

There are 2 reasons why you need to give your written consent for Anaesthesia.

It is a regulatory requirement to have your written consent for a procedure which involves general anaesthesia
To acknowledge you fully understand all associated risks of anaesthesia

What Precautions does a Vet take to Keep my Pet Safe under Anaesthesia?

A trained surgical assistant monitors your pet’s vital signs throughout the procedure and adjust anaesthetic volume as determined by these signs.This ensures your pet remains stable. In addition, any number of different special monitoring equipment is attached to your pet to measure vital statistics such as pulse, blood Oxygen levels and respiration.

Why is a Catheter inserted into the vein?

A catheter is always placed to enable an i.v.drip to be attached as well as provide quick access for the administration of any emergency drugs should they be needed.

How long does it take for my pet to Wake up and Recover after Anaesthesia?

This can vary from patient to patient and with the length and type of procedure performed.

Patients are strictly observed after surgery, especially until the time the breathing (endotracheal) tube can be safely removed. This marks the time your pet has regained their swallow reflex and can breathe safely again.

What happens if My Pet’s Blood test shows an Abnormal Result?

Depending on the results, your pet may require further diagnostic testing and treatment for the condition. This means surgery is delayed until such time your pet is stabilised and your vet deems it safe to proceed.

So next time you’re asked about “blood testing and fluid therapy” before your pet’s surgery, what will you decide?