Scheduling a procedure in which your pet needs to be anesthetized can be scary. While every procedure carries some risks- it is best to talk to your veterinarian before you panic.
Here are some of the most common myths about anesthesia:
Myth #1: Anesthesia complications are common.
Complications do occur, but death is very rare. Studies show that for healthy cats and dogs the risk of death is approximately 1 in 2000. For animals with pre-existing disease it is approximately 1 in 500. Well trained veterinary teams will take every necessary precaution to minimize risks during anesthesia. We take into account every aspect of your pet’s health when coming up with the proper anesthetic protocol.
Myth #2: Certain anesthetic drugs will harm my pet.
Seldom is one drug better or worse than another. Each medication has benefits and risks. Monitoring your pets condition during a procedure is much more important than which drugs are used. Monitoring includes, but is not limited to; monitoring anesthetic depth, blood oxygenation, respiration, blood pressures, body temperature, and the hearts electrical activity.
If your pet happens to have a reaction to certain anesthetic drugs, your veterinary team will take the necessary steps to recover your pet safely. This may mean that the procedure needs to be put off and done at another time, avoided altogether, or that pre surgical medications may need altered.
Myth #3: Most complications occur during a procedure while the pet is asleep.
Almost half of the anesthetic deaths occur after the delivery of anesthetic drugs during recovery. Monitoring your pet’s vitals are not only important during a procedure, but also during the recovery time. This is why most of the time it is important for our staff to monitor your pet for a few hours’ post procedure. Unless we feel their behavior is putting them at risk, you can expect your pet to stay after their procedure until a designated discharge time, which is set by the veterinary surgeon.
At the discharge time, we feel that your pet is safe to go home with you under your proper supervision. We recommend staying with your pet for the first 24 to 48 hours after a major surgical procedure is performed. If you cannot be home to monitor your pet we recommend having someone you trust sit with your pet during this time. This is just to make sure your pet is comfortable, and is not experiencing any discomfort or complications that could arise.
Normal complications that could arise include but are not limited to; not having a bowel movement in 24-36 hours post-surgery, cloudy eyes with a small amount of discharge due to lubricant in the pet’s eyes, coughing for 24 to 48 hours due to a tube placed in your pet’s airways, lethargy for 24 to 48 hours post anesthetic procedure, loss of appetite for 24 to 48 hours, and a decreased desire to drink for 24 hours due to fluids given during the procedure.
Anything lasting longer than the time frames above, or if your pet is experiencing any signs or symptoms that you are concerned about you should bring this to the attention of your veterinarian, they will assist you in what they feel will be the proper course of action for your pet. In some circumstances, we may recommend supportive hospital care off site at your local emergency clinic. It is important to follow your pets discharge instructions very closely. By doing so you minimize the risk of any complications arising.
Myth #4: Most veterinarians provide a similar level of anesthetic care and monitoring.
Every veterinarian is different, just like every pet is different. Some may refer you to a specialist for anesthetic procedures, if they deem that your pet would benefit from such a referral. If you have any questions or concerns about the level of anesthetic care that your pet would receive discuss this with your veterinarian prior to the procedure.
Myth #5: The internet is the most reliable source of information about potential anesthetic risks.
While some websites do offer reliable information, many offer misinformation and inconsistences. The best source of information for your pet, is discussing your pet’s unique situation with your veterinarian. If you do research on your own, make sure to keep an open mind and discuss any concerns that your research brings up with your veterinarian before making a decision that could be potentially harmful to your pet.
Remember, we want the best for your pet too. Our veterinarians will only offer what we feel is best for your pet. If you have any questions or concerns do not hesitate to bring them up with your veterinarian.
Do you have a question about an upcoming surgical procedure that your pet is scheduled to have with one of our veterinarians? Give our office a call at 717-957-3991.