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What happens with your beloved fur baby when you leave them with us for an anesthetic procedure?
First, they are set up comfortably in a kennel. If they have not yet had their preoperative blood work done, we will draw a small amount of blood to be able to run the labs early in the morning. This will give us ample time to change plans if necessary. Since we run this blood work to ensure that your pet is in good health to undergo anesthesia, if anything is of concern within their lab results, we will postpone the procedure. Your pet's veterinarian will then give you a call to discuss the next steps for your pet.
An intravenous catheter is placed and your pet is started on fluid therapy. Pain medications and/or sedatives are also administered before the procedure to ensure that we are preventing the pain response early and calming their little nerves that can come with being in the hospital. Fluids are given to ensure proper hydration, control blood pressure and to help the internal organs to flush out the anesthetic drugs post-op. A catheter allows a non painful way of giving the anesthetic drugs, allowing us to tailor the medications to your pet and gives us access to the blood supply should any emergency medications be needed.
Once sedated, a breathing tube is placed to ensure they are getting all the oxygen they need throughout the procedure. They are placed on oxygen mixed with an inhaled sedative to keep them under anesthesia and to allow us to give them the safest amount of drugs during their procedure.
They are then placed on a cushioned mat with our Cloud 9 warming system. Imagine a cloud of warm air surrounding you, this is exactly what it is. A bubble of warm air to ensure that your pet’s temperature stays stable while under anesthesia.
Pets are monitored in many ways. Most importantly, they have a personal veterinary nurse with them at all times monitoring their vital signs; heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen concentration, temperature, etc. They are also monitored using high quality anesthetic equipment which helps our nurses to better assess your pet, including an ECG.
They are given pain medication before and after their procedure, and we use a local nerve block at the site of any incision to further decrease any pain to your pet. If you’ve ever had your tooth numbed for a filling, it is similar to this, which is exactly what we do for any dental extractions.
If your pet is having a dental procedure, this is when we take digital xrays of the mouth, to allow us to see what is happening at the root of the teeth. A thorough cleaning is performed and all the teeth are examined and charted. If any extractions are needed, the areas are numbed before and sutured closed after the extractions. The teeth are then polished to prevent further tartar buildup and a fluoride treatment is performed.
At the end of your pet’s procedure, the nurses are with them until they are ready to be moved to recovery where they are cocooned in a blanket to keep them cozy while the IV fluids are continued to help them to flush out the drugs. We can continue to monitor them until they are ready to walk out the door, perhaps a little more quiet than when they came in but happy, awake and NON painful. This is why you will notice that pick up is usually not until the end of the day, this gives us as much time as possible to monitor your pet postoperatively.
The order in which your pet is started will vary depending on what else is scheduled that day. There are a mix of reasons why the doctors choose the order, but they are all in the best interest of the pets there that day. So not to fret if your pet isn’t done first, they are all done in a manner to allow one on one nursing care and to make sure they can walk out the door with their tail wagging or purr in their throat.