When most dogs are spayed or neutered, they are given anesthesia, and the majority of them will need it at least once more in their lives. As with us, our four-legged companions may require anesthesia during a surgery or procedure. Our Rock Hill veterinarians talk about what you should know about dog anesthesia today.
In what situations is anesthesia used?
Some veterinary procedures, such as dentistry, spay and neuter procedures, and surgery, require your pet to be sedated. Anesthesia is a state of controlled unconsciousness in which your pet's level of consciousness is maintained so that they do not feel pain or move.
Most healthy pets, including senior pets, have no problems with anesthesia, and the dangers are generally tied to the treatment being performed rather than the anesthetic itself.
What are the risk factors of anesthesia?
When we employ any anesthetic drug, there is always the possibility of an unpleasant reaction. Patients who are sedated lose their typical reflex capacity to swallow. If there is food in the stomach, the dog may vomit while under anesthesia or shortly afterward.
Because of breed, size, health, or age, some dogs have a higher anesthetic risk. Because of changes in or immaturity of some of their body's organs or systems, older dogs and very young dogs can also be more vulnerable to anesthesia.
Anesthetics cause nearly half of all canine deaths within the first few hours after surgery. There are always risks when administering any anesthetic medication to a patient, regardless of how long the patient is sedated. One of the most common symptoms, which can range from mild to severe, is edema at the injection site. Fasting prior to anesthesia, as recommended by your veterinarian, is critical for lowering your dog's risk.
How can I reduce the risk of anesthesia-related complications in my dog?
Here are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of anesthesia-related complications:
- Let your veterinarian know if your pet has ever reacted to sedation or anesthesia.
- Make sure your veterinarian knows of all medications and supplements (including over-the-counter products) your pet takes.
- Follow your veterinarian’s instructions before anesthesia, especially with regards to withholding food, water, and medications.
The diagnostic tests before undergoing anesthesia normally include:
- Chemistry tests to evaluate kidney, liver, and pancreatic function, as well as sugar levels
- A complete blood count (CBC) to rule out blood-related conditions
- Electrolyte tests to ensure your dog isn’t dehydrated or suffering from an electrolyte imbalance
In addition to blood tests, your vet might also recommend the following:
- The use of a catheter is part of the anesthetic preparation process. To keep your pet hydrated, anesthetics and intravenous fluids can be administered through the catheter. Furthermore, it could be used to directly administer life-saving medications in the event of a crisis.
- Intravenous fluids to help maintain hydration and blood pressure. IV fluids also help your dog with recovery by aiding the liver and kidneys in clearing the body of anesthetic agents more quickly.
All of these steps are designed to make sure your pet undergoes a successful treatment without any complications arising from the anesthesia.
Why do I need to sign an anesthetic consent form?
It is critical that you completely comprehend what will happen to your dog and that you are aware of the hazards involved with an anesthetic.
The form will request permission to perform surgery or another diagnostic test, as well as a treatment cost estimate. Before performing anesthetic procedures, many states require veterinarians to obtain written permission from the owner.
Do vets monitor an anesthetized dog?
Yes, we do! Several practices are in place to make sure your dog doesn't suffer any complications from anesthesia. These include:
- A technician or assistant is present during the anesthetic event to monitor your dog’s vital signs and to help adjust anesthetic levels, under the direction of the veterinarian.
- A heart rate monitor measures your pet's heartbeats per minute. Anesthesia and other factors can have an effect on heart rate. By monitoring your dog's heart rate, your veterinarian can quickly adjust anesthetics.
- Your dog's heart rate and rhythm are measured with an electrocardiogram (ECG). It is capable of detecting arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeats. Your veterinarian can adjust your anesthetic if an arrhythmia is discovered.
- If your dog is enduring a lengthy surgical treatment, his core body temperature may be monitored. Body temperature fluctuations might lead to serious problems.
- A blood pressure monitor measures the blood pressure of your dog. It provides detailed information on your pet's cardiovascular state when used in conjunction with other monitoring equipment.
- Pulse oximetry may be used to monitor the amount of oxygen in your dog's blood and her pulse rate.
- Carbon dioxide (CO2) is frequently monitored alongside oxygen because it helps assess if your pet is getting enough oxygen under anesthesia.
How long does anesthesia last in dogs?
Many dogs feel sleepy or tired for 12 to 24 hours after anesthesia. Your dog should be virtually normal by the time he is discharged. If your dog appears to be acting particularly weird after anesthesia, or you are unable to rouse them quickly, contact the hospital right away for specific guidance.
Always make sure to follow any post-surgery advice your vet gives you for a speedy recovery.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.