All About Anaes­the­sia

It may be un­set­tling to have your pet un­dergo anaes­the­sia, but the pro­ce­dure is not as scary as it seems

Clubpets - - THE KENNEL -

Anaes­the­sia and its uses

A nec­es­sary process for med­i­cal pro­ce­dures and surg­eries, anaes­the­sia is used to re­lax a dog’s mus­cles and to pre­vent it from fight­ing against the pro­ce­dure. It is also one of the few ways for dogs to tol­er­ate breath­ing tubes and to not have them chew on the equip­ment. There are four main types of anaes­the­sia: pre-emp­tive anal­ge­sia, lo­cal, re­gional and gen­eral. Preemp­tive anal­ge­sia is usu­ally used as a ther­a­peu­tic in­ter­ven­tion in ad­vance of the pain, to pre­vent or min­imise pain. While the lo­cal anaes­the­sia seeks to pre­vent pain in spe­cific body parts such as a tooth or paw, the re­gional anaes­the­sia blocks pain in a larger body area such as the en­tire up­per half body of a dog. The gen­eral anaes­the­sia, one that we are more fa­mil­iar with, will pre­vent the pa­tient from feel­ing any pain by ren­der­ing it un­con­scious.

Dif­fer­ent dog, dif­fer­ent needs

When it comes to anaes­the­sia ad­min­is­tra­tion, it is important to note that dif­fer­ent dog breeds have dif­fer­ent needs, where anaes­thetic pro­ce­dures are cus­tomised ac­cord­ingly to each dog.

For in­stance, Brachy­cephalic breeds (dogs with shorter snouts) such as Bull­dogs, Pugs and Box­ers re­quire ad­di­tional care as the stress placed on their air­ways can re­sult in ob­struc­tion of your pet’s breath­ing. As such, the breath­ing tube should al­ways be left in place un­til the dog is fully alert and awake. Due to their leaner and more mus­cu­lar bod­ies, Sighthounds such as the Grey­hound, Whip­pet and Bor­zoi will metabolise the drug at a faster rate and in turn, re­quire smaller doses.

While big­ger dogs such as Great Danes may be as­so­ci­ated with higher drug me­tab­o­lism rates, you may be sur­prised to learn that the anaes­thetic doses are pre­scribed ac­cord­ing to a dog’s body mass as op­posed to its weight.

On the other hand, smaller dogs will have a higher risk of drug ad­min­is­tra­tion. Due to their rel­a­tively lower body tem­per­a­tures, it is vi­tal to keep Toy breeds warm when un­der­go­ing the pro­ce­dure and dur­ing the re­cov­ery pe­riod.

Ad­min­is­ter­ing anaes­thet­ics

Be­fore the pro­ceed­ing with the drug ad­min­is­tra­tion, risk fac­tors that may in­flu­ence the pa­tient’s re­ac­tions to anaes­the­sia should be iden­ti­fied – these in­clude the dog’s age, breed and tem­per­a­ment. A pre­anaes­thetic eval­u­a­tion can in­clude ch­est ex­am­i­na­tions and blood tests, while your pet may be re­quired to go through a fast­ing pe­riod as it pre­pares for the anaes­thetic ad­min­is­tra­tion. Fol­low­ing the eval­u­a­tion, pre-anaes­thetic may be pre­scribed to the dog, to re­duce its stress lev­els and to min­imise the dose of other anaes­thetic drugs.

There are sev­eral ways to ad­min­is­ter anaes­the­sia, the most com­mon be­ing the in­tra­venous in­jec­tion. The in­hala­tion in­duc­tion method will re­quire your pet to breathe in the anaes­thetic, while the mul­ti­modal ap­proach will see the ad­min­is­tra­tion of mul­ti­ple drugs to achieve the anal­gesic ef­fect.

Mon­i­tor­ing the ef­fects

While it may be wor­ry­ing, rest as­sured that your vet is there to mon­i­tor the ef­fects of anaes­the­sia on your pet be­fore ad­just­ing the dosage if nec­es­sary. For ex­am­ple, an elec­tro­car­dio­gram will be used to mon­i­tor the dog’s heart rate, to de­tect ab­nor­mal heart­beat pat­terns. A blood pres­sure mon­i­tor will be used to pro­vide de­tails on the dog’s car­dio­vas­cu­lar con­di­tion, while its body tem­per­a­ture will be closely mon­i­tored.

The road to re­cov­ery

While anaes­thet­ics are to pro­vide pain re­lief, there are oc­ca­sional side ef­fects such as de­creased breath­ing, lower blood and body tem­per­a­tures. As anaes­thet­ics will re­sult in the di­la­tion of blood ves­sels and even­tual body heat loss, do keep your pet warm and cosy, es­pe­cially post-pro­ce­dure. A com­mon side ef­fect will be a lack of depth per­cep­tion, where the dog may en­counter a loss of bal­ance and have dif­fi­culty with walk­ing. While the re­cov­ery rates of dogs do dif­fer from a few hours to a day or two, rest as­sured that Rover will re­gain his cheery and en­er­getic self af­ter ap­prox­i­mately forty-eight hours upon awak­en­ing. Do note that nau­sea and vom­it­ing, in ad­di­tion to grog­gi­ness, may also oc­cur.

With bet­ter-de­vel­oped drugs, im­proved pro­to­cols and con­sis­tent mon­i­tor­ing, anaes­thet­ics for pets are gen­er­ally safe. De­spite this, it is ad­vis­able to find out more about the as­so­ci­ated risks and to con­sult the vet be­fore your dog un­der­goes any med­i­cal pro­ce­dures.

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