- Soft Tissue Surgery
- Laser Surgery – Learn more about the benefits of laser surgery for patients here
- Orthopedics – we partner with several mobile board certified veterinary surgeons
- Endoscopy– we partner with a local internal medicine veterinary specialist, Dr. Eric Goullaud.
Surgery and Anesthesia at South Hyland Pet Hospital
Your pet’s wellbeing and comfort come first.
We take your concerns about anesthesia seriously. This page is designed to help you understand the risks associated with anesthesia, and what we do to reduce those risks so you can be confident your pet is in good hands.
What is Anesthesia?
General anesthesia is a state of unconsciousness with loss of protective reflexes resulting from the administration of one or more drugs, usually given by injection and/or inhalation. The overall goal is to ensure a balanced effect of hypnosis, amnesia, analgesia and muscle relaxation to keep the patient immobile. In pets, anesthesia is required in a wider range of circumstances than in people because they will not remain still for procedures like dental treatments, MRI, CT scans, etc.
Is Anesthesia Safe?
Robert M. Smith, M.D. once said, “There are no safe anesthetic agents; there are no safe anesthetic procedures; there are only safe anesthetists.” So, to mitigate the risks associated with anesthesia, we take a number of measures to ensure your pet is as safe as possible during the procedure. We give your pet a thorough evaluation to assess their risk status prior to the administration of anesthetic drugs and provide the best conditions for a comfortable and speedy recovery.
Some of our strategies include:
- 1. Pre-anesthetic physical exam, hematology and blood chemistry (pre-anesthetic blood work)
- 2. Pre-anesthetic equipment safety check
- 3. Balanced anesthesia and pain management
- 4. Hands-on monitoring by trained clinicians
- 5. State-of-the-art electronic vital signs monitoring
- 6. Peri-operative temperature management
- 7. IV fluid therapy
- 8. Monitored recovery and post-operative care
What is the Risk?
When evaluating the risk associated with an anesthetic case, the patient’s physical condition must first be properly assessed, scoring their risk status based on medical history, physical condition and age. This risk status ranges from P1 for an animal in excellent health to P5 for a patient that is critically ill. Elective and dental procedures are usually performed on patients with a risk status of P1-P3. Anesthetics have a tendency to depress respiration and circulation, especially at deep levels of anesthesia. Studies have shown that anesthetic depth and duration are major risk factors associated with anesthesia and surgery. Our goal is to minimize the amount of time your pet is under anesthesia, and to manage anesthetic depth during the procedure. Close monitoring of vital functions ensure that we only use what is necessary to keep your pet safe and comfortable.
Pre-Anesthetic Exam, Hematology, and Blood Chemistry (Pre-Anesthetic Blood Work)
Whether your pet is young or old, a pre-anesthetic physical exam will be performed with the necessary blood work to assure that your pet is as healthy as possible. This will help uncover any previously undiagnosed conditions and allow us to score their pain level to better customize medication needed before, during and after their procedure.
Pre-Anesthetic Equipment Safety Check
Just like your airline pilot checks all the instruments before takeoff, we check our equipment before administering anesthesia to your pet. Properly maintaining our tools and equipment to the manufacturers’ specifications and double checking operations just before the procedure begins, ensures that our focus is on your pet, not on our equipment, and reduces the time your pet will be anesthetized.
Balanced Anesthesia and Pain Management
To reduce anesthetic depth and duration, we balance anesthetics with pre-anesthetic administration of analgesic and sedative drugs. This helps reduce your pet’s stress and makes them more comfortable. Doing this also helps your pet remain calm so we can prepare them for the anesthetic procedure. Depending on the protocol used, this approach can also allow for a reduction in the amount of anesthetics required, making recovery much smoother.
Hands-On Electronic Monitoring
We follow anesthetic monitoring recommendations set forth by the American College of Veterinary Anesthesiologists, and have invested in state-of-the-art, automated vital signs monitoring equipment specially designed for use on animals. A trained Animal Health Technician (Veterinary Nurse) will be at your pet’s side, responding to feedback from the electronic monitoring system and using their hands-on clinical expertise to manage your pet’s proper anesthetic depth. The technician relays information to the veterinarian who is apprised of your pet’s progress throughout the procedure.
Peri-Operative Temperature Management
Studies have shown that managing a patient’s temperature during and after surgery greatly reduces the risk of anesthetic complications. Core body temperature directly affects how the body metabolizes anesthetics, so we will use an array of warming methods to keep your pet’s temperature at the desired level.
IV Fluid Therapy
Dehydration is a major risk factor in the development of hypotension (low blood pressure) during anesthesia and surgery. Fluids are administered during the procedure via a preplaced venous catheter to maintain blood pressure at acceptable levels. The IV catheter is essential to provide an immediate route for administration of fluids during and after the procedure, especially in response to changes in blood pressure trends or to administer other medications as needed.
Monitored Recovery and Post-Operative Care Your pet will be monitored during recovery, and every accommodation will be made to ensure their warmth, comfort and well-being. We will also monitor certain vital signs so that any adverse responses are addressed immediately.
Upon discharge, you will be given specific instructions as to what to expect during the recovery process at your home and the use of post-operative medications to minimize pain and discomfort. You will be called the next day to check on your pet’s progress. Should any questions arise, please do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian.