Is General Anesthesia Safe For Your Pet?
By Rachele Baker, DVM – Many pet parents have concerns about having their pet put under general anesthesia for a surgical procedure or dental cleaning. While the idea of your pet being put under general anesthesia may make you feel anxious, you can rest assured that minimizing anesthetic risks and ensuring the safety and well-being of your pet during any anesthetic procedure is of utmost importance to your veterinarian.
There are always risks associated with general anesthesia – for pets as well as people. So there are a number of things that we, as veterinarians, do to reduce the risks associated with general anesthesia including:
1) Performing a complete pre-anesthetic physical examination of your pet – paying special attention to the health of your pet’s heart and lungs;
2) Performing pre-anesthetic bloodwork to check the general health of your pet as well as the health of your pet’s liver and kidneys (the organs that clear the anesthetics from your pet’s system); and
3) Placement of an IV catheter prior to general anesthesia to be used for administration of medications as well as for delivery of IV fluids which help keep your pet’s blood pressure up while he or she is under anesthesia.
While your pet is under general anesthesia, vital signs monitors are used to monitor your pet’s heartrate, blood oxygen saturation, respiratory rate, and other vital signs. A warming device such as a heating pad is used to keep your pet’s body temperature up while he or she is under anesthesia.
Check out this fantastic video by the American Veterinary Medical Association narrated by Dr. Jusmeen Sarkar, a board certified veterinary anesthesiologist, which shows and explains everything that happens before, during, and after a pet is put under general anesthesia.
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