May 1, 2019

Anaesthesia and your Pet

A Vet's summary of General Anaesthesia

Anaesthesia and your Pet

Modern anaesthetic drugs are so much safer than those used in previous years with less side effects.

Anaesthesia and your pet

There are many different types of anaesthesia that we use in clinic. The most common one used for surgery is General Anaesthesia where an animal is rendered fully unconscious. Through the use of various anaesthetic agents the veterinarian can perform procedures without the patient being aware of pain or discomfort. In some cases such as performing a dental, the anaesthetic is to keep the patient still which is different to what you would see in a human practice.

Before an anaesthetic we like to run blood tests. This is always discussed with the owner first to determine if they would like this done. Four reasons why youshould test your pet:

  1. Enjoy peace of mind - Blood testing is considered Best Practice.
  2. Detect hidden illness - Healthy looking pets on the outside may not be so healthy on the inside. Testing helps detect this kind of hidden illness so we can avoid any problems before they arise.
  3. Reduce risks and consequences - If results are not normal, we can alter the medications we use or take other precautions to safe guard your pet’s health.
  4. Protect your pet’s future health - Testing healthy animals provides a baseline for future reference.

On the day of the procedure the animal is fasted, usually for twelve hours. This is very important as otherwise animals may vomit while under anaesthetic, which can lead to respiratory problems if the vomit is inhaled.

During an anaesthetic your pet is closely monitored from initial preparation to complete recovery.

The vet will often give the patient an injection prior to the anaesthetic, which provides some tranquilisation and pre-emptive pain relief but does not cause loss of consciousness. The anaesthetic drug dose is usually given by intravenous injection. Modern drugs are so much safer than those used in previous years with less side effects.

Once anaesthetised, a tube is passed through the patient’s mouth into the trachea to supply oxygen, maintain an open airway and to deliver anaesthetic agents.

Modern anaesthetic drugs are quickly eliminated from the body and animals usually wake up rapidly.

It may take some time before the animal is back to being completely normal depending on the medications used, the procedure and the health status of the patient.


What do you do with your pet after the anaesthetic?

Your pet may be quieter than usual; this is normal and will generally wear off within a day. Usually a small meal can be provided (unless otherwise stated),although they may not feel like eating immediately.

Always listen to your vets instructions and be mindful of any medications they give you.


If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your vet clinic regarding your pet.

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