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. We are proud to have a Capnograph, Pulse Oximeter,and a Doppler Blood Pressure Unit. As well to keep the patients comfortable and stable during and after surgery, we have two warming recirculating water blankets under our patients as well as a Warm Touch Blanket system that covers the patient.

Tranquilization/Sedation

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Tranquilization or sedation is used to calm an animal under various conditions. The animal remains awake or may ‘sleep’ but is easily aroused when stimulated. Pet owners frequently request sedation for their animals during travel, thunderstorms, fireworks, etc. Sedation and tranquilization are not without risk and each animal should be assessed prior to dispensing these medicines.

Patient Monitoring

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During general anesthesia, our patients are monitored closely by a registered animal health technician for heart rate, respiratory rate, capillary refill time and blood pressure. A change in blood pressure is an early indicator that a pet may be running into trouble. Monitoring blood pressure allows us to intervene earlier and prevent any anesthetic risk to your pet. We chart your pet’s statistics every 10 minutes from the moment he or she is anesthetized to the time when he or she wakes up.

General Anesthesia

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A general anesthetic results in a loss of consciousness in the animal and a loss of sensation throughout the body. Most general anesthetic procedures involve several steps beginning with the administration of a sedative. An intravenous injection of an anesthetic renders the animal unconscious while a breathing tube is placed into the animal’s trachea. A gas anesthetic is delivered in combination with oxygen to the animal via the breathing tube to maintain the state of unconsciousness.

Although general anesthetics are significantly safer than they have been in the past, there is still the remote chance of an anesthetic accident. There are many ways to reduce the risk associated with anesthesia including a physical examination and blood work prior to anesthesia. Anesthetic monitoring equipment and protocol can also contribute to a safer anesthesia.

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.