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Anesthesia For Dogs

Dogs are often given anesthesia when they are spayed or neutered. In this article, our Anaheim vets discuss what you should know about anesthesia for dogs and when it's best to get anesthesia.

In What Situations Is Anesthesia Used?

Certain veterinary procedures, including pet dental treatments, spaying and neutering, and other pet surgeries, require the administration of anesthesia to ensure the comfort and safety of your pet. Anesthesia induces regulated unconsciousness, allowing control over your pet's level of consciousness to prevent pain and movement.

In the majority of cases, anesthesia poses minimal risks to healthy pets, including senior animals. Any potential dangers are typically associated with the specific procedure being performed rather than the anesthetic itself.

What Are the Risk Factors of Anesthesia?

When using any type of anesthesia, there is always a possibility of undesirable reactions. Sedated patients lose their normal reflexes, including the ability to swallow. If there is food in the stomach, dogs may experience vomiting during or shortly after anesthesia.

Certain factors such as breed, size, health condition, or age can increase the risk associated with anesthesia. Older dogs and very young dogs may be more susceptible to the effects of anesthesia due to changes or immaturity in their organs or systems.

A significant proportion of canine deaths related to anesthesia occur within the first few hours following a surgical procedure. Administering any anesthetic medication carries inherent risks, regardless of the duration of sedation. Reactions can range from moderate to severe, with a variety of symptoms including swelling at the injection site. Following the fasting guidelines recommended by your veterinarian before anesthesia is crucial in reducing the risk for your dog.

How Can I Reduce Anesthesia-Related Complications?

Here are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of anesthesia-related complications:

  • Make sure your veterinarian knows of all medications and supplements (including over-the-counter products) your pet takes.
  • Let your veterinarian know if your pet has ever reacted to sedation or anesthesia.
  • Follow your veterinarian’s instructions before anesthesia, especially with regards to withholding food, water, and medications.

The following diagnostic tests before undergoing anesthesia normally include:

  • 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
  • Chemistry tests to evaluate kidney, liver, and pancreatic function, as well as sugar levels

In addition to blood tests, your vet might also recommend the following:

  • 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.
  • A catheter is part of the anesthetic preparation. The catheter can be used to provide anesthetics and intravenous fluids to keep your pet hydrated. Further, if needed, it would serve as a pathway to directly administer life-saving medications, should a crisis arise.

All of these steps are designed to make sure 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 important to understand and be aware of the hazards involved with an anesthetic.

You will receive a form of consent to perform surgery as well as an estimate of the treatments' projected costs. Before undertaking anesthetic operations, the veterinarian is required by law to seek written agreement from the owner. 

Do Vets Monitor an Anesthetized Dog?

Yes, they do! Several practices are in place to make sure your dog doesn't suffer any complications from anesthesia. These include:

  • An electrocardiogram (ECG) measures your dog's heart rate and rhythm. It can detect arrhythmias, which are irregular heartbeats. If an arrhythmia is discovered, your veterinarian can adjust your anesthetic accordingly.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • A heart rate monitor counts your pet’s heartbeats per minute. Anesthesia and other factors can affect heart rate. By monitoring your dog’s heart rate, your veterinarian can make anesthetic adjustments quickly.

How Long Does Anesthesia Last In Dogs?

Many dogs feel sleepy or tired for 12 to 24 hours after anesthesia. Your dog should be virtually normal by the time he is discharged. If your dog appears to act particularly weird after anesthesia, or you are unable to rouse them quickly, contact the hospital right away for specific guidance.

Always make sure to follow any post-surgery advice your vet gives you for a speedy recovery.

If your dog is in need of surgery, contact Anaheim Animal Care & Pet Hospital. We'll gladly take care of your pet during and after their surgery.

New Patients Welcome

Anaheim Animal Care & Pet Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Anaheim companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Book Online (714) 527-9292