If you are preparing for an upcoming dog surgery or a dental procedure, you probably have questions about canine anesthesia. You might even feel a bit apprehensive at the thought of your pet undergoing a procedure. That’s why we decided to provide answers to a few of the questions we’re most commonly asked about dog anesthesia. Below you’ll find information you can trust directly from our skilled and experienced veterinarians.
At Owings Mills Veterinary Center, we take your dog’s comfort and safety seriously and will do everything we can to protect them every step of the way. Whether they’re here for a routine dental cleaning, a complex operation, or something in between, you can rest assured that they will be in excellent hands while in our care. If your pet needs a procedure, give us a call at (410) 807-8193.
What are the different types of anesthesia?
As veterinarians, we use a few different forms of dog sedatives or anesthesia. First, we administer pre-anesthetic medication to calm your pet and to help with pain management. The pre-anesthetic also helps your dog wake up more smoothly after their procedure. Then we administer induction anesthesia, which puts the dog to sleep to be intubated and started on general anesthesia. General anesthesia is typically a gas that is safely delivered by an endotracheal tube.
Administering different types of anesthesia in stages allows us to use fewer drugs overall and makes anesthesia safer for your canine companion.
When would my dog need anesthesia?
Your dog will need anesthesia if they ever undergo surgery or another type of painful procedure, like getting stitches to repair a wound. We also use anesthesia for dental procedures and x-rays which require us to keep your dog’s mouth open for extended periods.
Are particular breeds more sensitive to dog sedatives?
Certain breeds are more sensitive to anesthesia than others, particularly sighthounds and greyhounds. These breeds often experience hypothermia with certain types of anesthesia and sedation. Additionally, brachycephalic breeds — or breeds with those adorable smooshed faces — often have breathing problems. While this does not cause much trouble during the procedure when they are breathing through a tracheal tube, we have to monitor them closely while they’re waking up to ensure they aren’t having any problems.
What do I need to know before my dog goes in for an anesthetic procedure?
We will perform a comprehensive physical exam on your dog before their procedure to assess their risk. We may also do blood work to make sure their organs are functioning correctly and will be able to process the anesthesia medications. We will also provide you with pre-procedure instructions.
Preparing your dog for a procedure may include:
- Withholding food and water overnight
- Giving them prescribed medications
- Preparing an area where they can recover from anesthesia/surgery
Our team will discuss any requirements with you when scheduling your dog’s procedure, and we encourage you to reach out to us if you have any questions.
What are some of the possible complications of anesthesia that my dog could experience?
Modern anesthesia protocols are safe, and serious complications are rare. However, because we are taking control of their breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure, there is always a level of risk involved.
Possible complications of anesthesia in dogs include:
- Low blood pressure
- Low heart rate
- Low blood oxygen
- Prolonged recovery
These complications are most common in senior pets and those with underlying heart disease or kidney disease. We take every precaution to ensure that dogs are healthy enough to undergo anesthesia and discuss the risks before your pet’s procedure.
How will the veterinary staff monitor my dog to ensure they are safe while under anesthesia?
While your dog is under a sedative, we will use state-of-the-art monitoring equipment to keep a close eye on several vital signs.
The things we monitor while dogs are under anesthesia include:
- Heart rate
- Respiration rate
- CO2 levels
We will also have an EKG running during the procedure, and a trained veterinary staff member will be physically monitoring your dog every step of the way.
What do I need to watch for at home after my dog has had an anesthetic procedure?
We will keep a close eye on your pet while they recover from sedation or anesthesia. Once they have recovered enough to go home, we will contact you to provide aftercare instructions and let you know when to pick up your furry friend.
Your dog may still be a bit drowsy following the procedure. This is normal, but you need to confine them to a safe area to avoid falling or getting hurt. Limit their interaction with children and other pets, so they don’t get overwhelmed. If we administered IV fluids during your dog’s procedure, they may have a full bladder and might not be able to hold bowel movements as long as usual. Your dog may also have a decreased appetite for 24 to 48 hours.
Contact us immediately if your dog exhibits any of the following symptoms following an anesthetic procedure:
- Difficulty passing urine or stool
- Refusal to eat for more than 48 hours
- Prolonged lethargy
Contact us right away if your dog underwent surgery and is showing signs of excessive pain or their incision appears infected.
If you have additional questions about dog anesthesia, our friendly staff would be happy to help. Give us a call at (410) 807-8193.