Anesthesia and Patient Monitoring

During surgery and other medical procedures, our team of veterinarians and veterinary technicians monitors all patients to ensure their safety. We monitor every procedure, regardless of whether it’s routine or more advanced. The type of anesthesia we use depends on the procedure. Some require general anesthesia, while others may only call for local anesthesia. For more specific information on our protocols, please see the individual descriptions or contact us with any questions.

Tranquilization/Sedation

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If travel, thunder, or fireworks upset your pet, he or she may benefit from tranquilization or sedation. While sedated, the animal will stay awake or sleep lightly but can be roused when stimulated. To minimize any potential risk associated with tranquilization or sedation, we need to assess each animal individually before we dispense these medications.

Please contact us if you would like to set up an assessment or discuss sedation with us.

Patient Monitoring

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Anesthetic Monitor

During general anesthesia, our patients are monitored closely by a technicial assistant as well as our multi-function anesthetic monitor. Our monitor records four important parameters in anesthetized patients; respiratory rate, heart function, blood pressure, and oxygen levels.

Respiratory Rate:

The rate of breathing is usually the first parameter to change if a pet is having difficulty with anesthesia. Watching the breathing rate allows us to detect and respond to problems quickly.

Heart Function:

The monitor give us a continuous electrocardiogram trace. This shows not only the heart rate, but also details of how the individual parts of the heart are working. Changes in the size or shape of the tracing will show potential problems before the heart rate itself changes.

Blood Pressure:

Blood pressure decreases in almost all patients under anesthetic, but if it drops too low it can affect vital organ function. All of our anesthetized patients are on intravenous fluid support, and we can compensate for changes in the blood pressure by changing the amount of fluids that we are giving them.

Oxygen Level:

The monitor gives us a measurement of how much oxygen is in the patient’s blood, which is one of the best ways to monitor how well the heart, lungs and circulatory system are working together.

All of our surgical patients will continue to be monitored by a technical assistant, who can now use the information from the monitor to provide an increased level of safety for all of our pets under anesthesia.

General Anesthesia

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For some procedures, your pet will need to be administered general anesthesia so that he or she will be unconscious and not feel pain. Many pet owners worry about their pets being administered general anesthesia. We can assure you that modern anesthesia is generally quite safe; to further lower any risk, we perform a physical examination and run blood work ahead of time to catch any underlying health issues. In addition, we follow a specific anesthetic protocol, including monitoring vital signs during the procedure, to ensure the safety of our patients.

We begin most general anesthetic procedures by administering a sedative to help the pet relax and decrease any anxiety and pain. We then administer an intravenous drug to provide complete anesthesia and place a breathing tube into the patient’s trachea (windpipe). To maintain the state of unconsciousness, we deliver a gas anesthetic in combination with oxygen through the breathing tube.

Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns about your pet receiving general anesthesia or about the procedure for which your pet is scheduled.

Local Anesthesia

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If your pet is having a minor surgical or diagnostic procedure performed, we sometimes use a local anesthetic to help control pain. For example, when we perform a biopsy (in which a small portion of tissue is surgically removed so it can be examined), we often use a local anesthetic. Local anesthetics cause a loss of sensation in the area where the procedure is being performed. We sometimes use a sedative and/or anxiolytic (anti-anxiety medication) in combination with the local anesthetic to keep pets calm during a procedure.

Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns about your pet receiving local anesthesia or about the procedure for which your pet is scheduled.