What happens to my pet when a general anesthetic is used?
On the day your pet is to be anesthetized it will be evaluated by the anesthesiology faculty and the student specifically assigned to its care. We will develop a plan for anesthetizing your pet and for the time period following anesthesia. The plan will differ between patients based upon the procedures that are to be performed and on the special needs of your pet. The anesthesia plan typically includes premedication, induction of anesthesia, maintenance anesthesia, supportive care, local anesthetic techniques that may be used in conjunction with general anesthesia, and post-operative care.
- You may be asked to fast your pet prior to its procedure. By eliminating food and water intake for a period of time, we can minimize the likelihood of vomiting or regurgitation of fluid from the digestive tract. Fasting is an important way to prevent pneumonia that may occur as a result of inhaling fluid from the digestive tract.
- Premedications are given prior to anesthesia and are designed to decrease your pet’s anxiety and help control pain. They also may help decrease the amount of anesthetics used in other parts of the procedure. In many cases, we clip hair and cleanse the skin over the surgery site after premedication. This allows us to decrease the amount of time your pet spends under anesthesia.
- Your pet will likely have an intravenous catheter placed to allow us to administer anesthetic drugs, IV fluids and other medications quickly, efficiently and without discomfort.
- Most pets will have a tube inserted into their mouth and into their airway to help deliver oxygen and anesthetic agents, and to prevent aspiration of fluid or food into their lungs. The endotracheal tube allows the animal to be connected to the anesthetic machine.
- Your pet will be monitored during anesthesia, and a variety of physical means and electronic monitors will be used to monitor anesthetic depth, heart rate and rhythm, blood pressure and respiratory function.
- After anesthesia is completed, we will monitor your pet in the early post-anesthetic period and give supportive care and pain control as needed. In some cases, based upon the needs of the animal, your pet may be moved to our intensive care unit, where post-anesthetic treatment may begin and your pet can be monitored more closely for an extended period of time.