The other day at work we were doing a routine exam on a dog. During the oral exam the vet discovered a slab fracture on one of the dogs premolars, the most common type of tooth break in dogs.
Since the vet was unable to get a really good look at the tooth to determine the damage she recommended that the dog undergo a dental cleaning with the possibility of extracting the tooth.
The thought of putting the dog under anesthesia was a very scary thought for the owner and it actually brought her to tears when she was scheduling the surgery.
This is a common emotion that I see when pet owners are faced with putting their beloved pets under anesthesia, and for good reason.
Undergoing anesthesia can be scary for people as well as for pets and just like with people there is a risk when undergoing an anesthetic procedure, which is why you should discuss any concerns that you have with your veterinarian and also educate yourself about some common myths that are out there about anesthesia and your pet.
5 Myths About Veterinary Anesthesia
1. Myth: Anesthesia risks are common. Fact: Complications do occur but are rare. A well-trained veterinary team will take every reasonable precaution—including having a knowledgeable staff, appropriate patient monitoring procedures, and proper patient evaluation and preparation—to minimize these risks.
2. Myth: Certain anesthetic drugs can harm my pet. Fact: In most cases, monitoring a pet’s condition (for example, monitoring anesthetic depth, blood oxygenation, respiration, blood pressure, body temperature, and heart electrical activity) during a procedure is much more important than which drug protocol is selected. It’s more important for your veterinarian to tailor a protocol to each patient’s needs and provide an appropriate level of supportive care—seldom is one drug better or worse than others since they all have benefits and risks.
3. Myth: Most complications occur during a procedure when my pets is asleep. Fact: Almost half of anesthetic deaths occur after the delivery of anesthetic drugs during recovery. Ask your veterinarian for a rundown of how your pet will be cared for after a procedure and make sure you’re comfortable with that level of care.
4. Myth: Most veterinarians provide a similar level of anesthetic care and monitoring. Fact: Every veterinarian has a different way of doing things. Some may refer cases to or consult with a specialist for anesthetic procedures, while others may rely on their in-house team. If you have any questions or concerns, ask your veterinarian for details before your pet undergoes any anesthetic procedures, then make an informed decision about what’s best for your pet.
5. Myth: The internet is the most reliable source for information about potential anesthesia risks. Fact: While some sites offer reliable and useful information, plenty of others contain inconsistencies or flat-out falsities. So don’t be fooled by misinformation, which can spread quickly from website to website. Do your research on anesthesia and its potential—but rare—complications, then discuss your findings with your veterinarian to make sure you’re getting the most accurate picture. This will allow you to do what’s best for your pet—and perhaps rid your mind of a few unfounded fears.
Thanks to dvm360 for this great list!
As a pet owner putting my dogs under anesthesia comes with the same worries that many pet owners have but after assisting and watching hundreds of surgeries at work under our strict anesthesia protocol, I’ve often thought that these pets are safer under anesthesia than I may be.
So how about you? Do you have any concerns with your pets and anesthesia?