There are two components of safety in the use of anesthetics. The first is proficiency in their use. The second component is evaluating anesthetic risk in individual patients. Examination requires scheduling a group of biochemical tests to gauge the health of the major organs of the body. Necessary tests include a B.U.N. and creatinine test to gauge kidney health and ALT, AP, bilirubin, and cholesterol to detect liver problems. Glucose analysis and total blood proteins detect diabetes and debilitating diseases and an EKG may detect heart problems. Include a hematocrit, a differential and total white blood cell count.
When we know of problems in advance we can make modifications in anesthesia that protect the pet.
Often a pre-anesthetic sedation agent such as acepromazine or Valium to get pets to calm down before surgery. Excited dogs often require more anesthetic and may even react differently to anesthetic drugs. Once the sedative or tranquilizer has taken effect I shave the patient’s arm and place an intravenous catheter in its recurrent radial vein. This gives me easy access to the pet’s blood stream for fluids and other medications in the event of an emergency.
Selection Of The Proper Anesthetic Agent:
Various anesthetics are administered in one of three ways. They can be injected locally around nerves, injected into the muscle to work systemically or they can be inhaled as a gas. Injected systemic and inhaled anesthetics move through the blood stream to the brain where they render the pet unconscious or insensitive to pain. Anesthetics that are injected near nerves block the sensation of pain distant to the point of injection. Ideal anesthesia uses neither more or less of the anesthetic than the amount necessary to perform the surgical procedure. Give just enough of the drugs to keep the pet pain-free and relaxed during the procedure. This amount is different for each patient. More painful procedures, such as intra-abdominal surgery, or spaying and orthopedic surgery require more anesthetics than procedures such as teeth cleaning or superficial tumor removal.