Anesthesia can be a real concern for pet owners. The thought of your beloved companion undergoing anesthesia for testing or a procedure—no matter how routine—can seem daunting or perhaps dangerous.
Our Creature Comforts Veterinary Service team understands your concerns, and is committed to providing your pet with the highest anesthetic safety level. We also recognize that your fears likely stem from a misconception regarding anesthesia medications and protocols. Read these guidelines to learn about the extensive safety measures our Creature Comforts Veterinary Service team takes for every pet before, during, and after anesthesia administration.
#1: Pet owner communication and education
Our compassionate and knowledgeable team wants you to feel comfortable about your pet’s anesthesia experience. We will therefore provide you with thorough and supportive communication—from your pet’s initial consultation and procedure scheduling, to admission and post-procedure recovery. To ensure you understand each step of your pet’s procedure and recovery, we encourage you to ask any concerning questions you may have. On the day of your pet’s procedure, a care team member will call you after your pet’s procedure, once your furry pal is awake and in recovery. In addition, feel free to contact us at any time for an update on your pet’s condition.
#2: Preanesthesia testing for your pet
Before your pet’s procedure, our veterinary team will recommend specific testing to ensure your beloved companion is healthy enough for anesthesia. Depending on your pet’s age, health, and scheduled procedure, testing may include:
- Blood work — Dogs and cats metabolize anesthesia drugs through their kidneys and liver. Blood work measures your pet’s organ function, and guides our veterinarians in choosing the safest medications for your unique four-legged pal.
- Urinalysis — The kidneys produce urine, and urinalysis is another valuable test for evaluating kidney filtration.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG) — An ECG assesses your pet’s heart rate and rhythm by recording the heart’s electrical activity.
- Diagnostic imaging — X-rays and ultrasound assess your pet’s lung, airway, heart, or abdominal cavity health.
#3: Customized pet anesthesia protocols
Your veterinarian uses your pet’s examination and testing results to plan the safest anesthesia protocol. Your pet’s unique anesthesia protocols include medications, dosages, and preoperative and perioperative measures such as:
- Preoxygenation — A pet who has respiratory issues or low hemoglobin levels can benefit from supplemental oxygen before anesthesia begins.
- Fluid therapy — Intravenous (IV) fluids can increase low blood pressure, accelerate waste filtration through the kidneys, and support the kidneys and liver.
- Premedication — Low-dose sedation and analgesia (i.e., pain reliever) administered before the procedure relaxes nervous pets, and allows the team to use less inhalant anesthesia during the procedure.
#4: Dedicated hands-on care for pets
Each Creature Comforts Veterinary Services patient receives personal care from their own dedicated veterinary technician anesthetist. From admission to release, one of our skilled veterinary technicians provides your pet’s hands-on monitoring and care—ensuring your furry pal is comfortable, warm, and maintaining normal vitals. If at any time your pet’s condition changes, the technician immediately notifies the veterinarian and implements any orders (e.g., administers medications, provides ventilation, pushes a bolus of fluids).
#5: State-of-the-art monitoring equipment for pets
Our state-of-the-art monitoring equipment ensures your pet’s assigned technician measures their vital signs continuously and records their readings in your pet’s anesthesia monitoring record. By combining electronics with hands-on monitoring, we increase our ability to identify your pet’s subtle health status changes before they become problematic. Our multiparameter monitoring equipment measures key vitals including:
- Blood oxygenation
- Heart rate
- ECG (i.e., heart rhythm)
- Respiratory rate
- Carbon dioxide (C02)
- Blood pressure
- Body temperature
#6: Skilled surgical team members minimize anesthesia time for pets
Prolonged anesthesia times are generally associated with an increased risk for complications including hypothermia, postoperative infections, blood clots, low blood pressure, and delayed recovery and healing. Our highly experienced veterinarians and support team have trained extensively to provide your pet thorough and efficient care, minimizing any downtime or delays that could unnecessarily extend your beloved companion’s anesthesia time.
#7: Dedicated recovery care for post anesthesia pets
While many pet owners worry about the amount of time their pet is under anesthesia, the recovery period is equally tenuous. During recovery, your pet’s body is attempting to metabolize any remaining anesthesia and return to normal functioning. To ensure your pet maintains a steady respiratory and heart rate, are able to swallow on their own, and can regulate their body temperature, we provide ongoing monitoring throughout the anesthesia recovery period.
Recovering Creature Comforts Veterinary Service patients receive continuous hands-on monitoring—including pain assessment—in a quiet low-stimuli area dedicated to waking pets. These measures, along with heat support and gentle reassurance, create a patient’s safe and comforting return to wakefulness. If your pet’s dedicated recovery care specialist has any concern about your beloved companion’s comfort or health status, they immediately notify the supervising veterinarian.
As with any medical endeavor, anesthesia is not without risk, and our Creature Comforts Veterinary Service team takes every precaution to minimize them. Do not allow your anesthesia-related concerns cause you to refuse your pet’s medical procedure, which may ease their suffering or be potentially lifesaving. Contact our caring Creature Comforts Veterinary Service team to discuss your concerns, and we will transform your what-ifs to peace of mind.