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Safe, State-of-the-Art Anesthesia for Your Pet

Before the Anesthetic Procedure

A thorough history of current and past medical problems can provide valuable information about your pet's physical condition. Physical examination may reveal abnormalities of the heart or lungs that may require further evaluation prior to performing general anesthesia. Many anesthetic drugs affect blood flow to major organs and are inactivated after use by the liver. We may advise that your pet should have blood tests before anesthesia to evaluate liver and kidney function, especially if your pet is older.

General Anesthesia

General anesthesia is usually initiated by giving a fast-acting, short duration induction drug intravenously. The pet immediately relaxes and loses consciousness, and a soft plastic endotracheal tube in inserted into the windpipe and is connected to the anesthesia machine. The anesthesia machine is used to deliver an inhalant anesthetic mixed with oxygen. Insertion of the proper sized endotracheal tube prevents inhalation of stomach contents into the airways and lungs during anesthesia.

At the completion of the surgical procedure, the concentration of the anesthetic that the pet is breathing is reduced and the animal slowly regains consciousness. When the pet regains its swallowing reflexes, the endotracheal tube is removed and the patient is monitored until fully recovered from anesthesia.

Anesthetic Monitoring

Vital signs including heart rate and rhythm, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and body temperature are continuously monitored using sophisticated monitoring equipment. The pet's depth of anesthesia is determined by evaluating reflexes, muscle tone, and response of vital signs to surgical stimulation. If a pet is perceived to be under too light of an anesthetic plane, an increased amount of anesthetic is administered. Conversely, if the patient is entering a deeper plane of anesthesia than necessary, the amount of anesthetic is decreased. Surgeries and dental procedures are performed on heated surgery tables so that the potential decrease in body temperature under anesthesia, which increases anesthetic risk, is avoided.

Anesthetic Drugs

Inhalant anesthetic agents are breathed in and out rather than injected into a blood vessel or muscle tissue. Modern anesthetics such as isoflurane are much safer with existing heart, liver, or kidney disease than anesthetics used in the past. In addition, inhalation agents such as isoflurane enter and exit the brain rapidly, allowing a rapid onset and recovery from anesthesia. The shorter anesthetic duration further increases anesthetic safety. Your pet typically leaves our clinic the day of surgery wide awake!

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