Just like humans, dogs need anesthesia for surgical procedures, including spaying or neutering. Our veterinarians at Turlock can provide helpful information on this topic.
In What Situations Is Anesthesia Used?
Certain veterinary procedures, like dentistry, spaying and neutering, and surgery, may necessitate sedation for your pet. Anesthesia is a carefully regulated state of unconsciousness that ensures your pet will not experience any pain or movement during the procedure.
Generally, most healthy pets, including senior ones, do not face any issues with anesthesia, and any potential risks are usually associated with the procedure being performed rather than the anesthetic used.
What Are the Risk Factors of Anesthesia?
When administering anesthesia, there is a possibility of an unpleasant reaction. Due to the sedation, a patient may lose their reflex capacity to swallow, which can lead to vomiting if there is food in their stomach. Certain factors such as breed, size, health, and age can increase the risk of anesthesia. In particular, older and very young dogs may be more vulnerable due to changes or immaturity in some of their bodily organs or systems.
Unfortunately, almost half of all canine deaths occur within a few hours after surgery due to anesthetics. Regardless of the duration of sedation, administering any anesthetic medication always carries risks, such as edema at the injection site, which can range from mild to severe. To minimize the risks, it is essential to follow your veterinarian's advice, including fasting your dog before anesthesia.
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:
- Anesthetic preparation includes the use of a catheter. Anesthetics and intravenous fluids can be administered through the catheter to keep your pet hydrated. Furthermore, in the event of a crisis, it could be used to administer life-saving medications directly.
- 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.
These steps are designed to ensure 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 crucial that you have a full understanding of the procedures your dog will undergo and the potential risks associated with anesthesia. The consent form will outline the necessary surgeries or diagnostic tests, along with an estimated cost for the procedures. In some states, veterinarians are required to obtain written consent from the owner before administering anesthesia.
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.
- The heartbeats per minute of your pet are counted with a heart rate monitor. Heart rate can be affected by anesthesia and other factors. Your veterinarian can quickly adjust anesthetics by monitoring your dog's heart rate.
- 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?
It is normal for dogs to feel sleepy or tired for a span of 12 to 24 hours after being given anesthesia. However, your furry friend should be back to their usual self by the time they are discharged. If you notice any unusual behavior or difficulty in waking them up after anesthesia, it is important to contact the hospital immediately for guidance. It is advisable to adhere to any post-surgery instructions provided by your veterinarian for a speedy recovery.