Anesthesia and Patient Monitoring

Anesthesia

The types of anesthesia and patient monitoring techniques used will vary depending on the veterinary hospital. When choosing your pet’s surgical facility, be sure to ask about the types of anesthetics used and the ways in which anesthesia is monitored. More often than not, the more expensive anesthetics are the safest to use, but anesthetics are also chosen for other reasons, such as their ability to control pain. Different types of anesthetics are:

1. Tranquilization/Sedation

Tranquilization or sedation are used to calm animals under various conditions. The animal is usually awake, though if it sleeps, it is easily aroused when stimulated. Pet owners frequently request sedation for their animals during travel, thunderstorms or fireworks. Sedation and tranquilization are not without risk, and each individual patient needs to be assessed prior to dispensing these medications.

2. General Anesthesia

A general anesthetic results in loss of consciousness and loss of sensation throughout the entire 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, combined with oxygen, is delivered to the animal via the breathing tube to maintain the state of unconsciousness. Although general anesthetics are significantly safer than they were in the past, there are still some risks associated with anesthetics. There are many ways to reduce these risks, including conducting presurgical examinations and blood work. Anesthetic monitoring equipment and adhering to protocol can also contribute to safer anesthesia.

Patient Monitoring

During anesthesia, the patient’s vital signs are monitored closely by a veterinary nurse. Your pet’s heart rate, respiratory rate, capillary refill time, blood pressure, EKG and temperature are charted and recorded every five minutes. A change in blood pressure is an early indication of a problem. Monitoring our patients’ vital signs so closely during anesthesia allows for early intervention and lowers the risk of anesthetic complications.