Anesthesia and Your Pet

At some point in every pet's life, they'll need to undergo general anesthesia for a dental cleaning or surgery. The word anesthesia is scary for many pet owners. But, it doesn't need to be. Just like with humans, the risks associated with anesthesia are very low and the benefits of the procedure often outweigh any risks.

There are three main types of anesthesia: local, regional, and general anesthesia. General anesthesia renders a patient unconscious while local and regional anesthesia are used to control pain during and after a procedure. Examples of local and regional anesthesia used at Four Paws include: nerve blocks for tooth extraction, paw blocks for declaws, and local blocks around wounds or incisions. Local and regional blocks allow us to use lower levels of inhaled anesthesia which lessens anesthetic risks.

At Four Paws Veterinary Clinic we take anesthesia very seriously and have several standards in place to minimize risk.

Minimizing risks

  • We perform a thorough pre-anesthetic physical exam to identify any medical conditions that could increase risk. Please alert us to any previous medical problems or anesthetic complications so we can plan accordingly.
  • We recommend pre-anesthetic blood work for all patients. It is required for patients over 7 years of age.
  • Each patient receives a sedative injection prior to their procedure to reduce stress.
  • Every pet is monitored closely before, during, and after anesthesia.
  • All patients have an IV catheter and IV fluids to help maintain their blood pressure and hydration. This is especially important in cats as their kidneys are sensitive to blood pressure changes.
  • All patients receiving general anesthesia are intubated to protect their airway.
  • During the procedure, we monitor heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, blood pressure, and body temperature.
  • All patients are kept warm during and after their procedure. Low body temperature can lead to a prolonged recovery.

While these safety measures can't eliminate all risk, they significantly decrease the risk of complications. If your pet needs a dental cleaning or surgical procedure and you are concerned about anesthesia, please schedule a pre-anesthetic consultation today.