In the practice of medicine, especially surgery, and dentistry, anesthesia is an induced, temporary state with one or more of the following characteristics: analgesia (relief from pain), paralysis (extreme muscle relaxation), amnesia (loss of memory), and unconsciousness. Anesthesia enables the painless performance of medical procedures that would cause severe or intolerable pain to an awake patient.
The process for administering anesthesia is unique for each patient. We consider your pet’s age, breed, medical history, and current health status to tailor our drugs to provide the safest and fastest anesthesia possible.
Most pets receiving anesthesia at Creekside Veterinary Hospital can expect the following:
Our team will want to make sure your pet is in the best possible condition before surgery and anesthesia. You will be asked important questions about your pet’s general health, including whether he or she has had difficulties with anesthesia.
A thorough evaluation of the history, physical condition, and past and current medications of your pet will be completed before preparing an anesthetic plan. The physical exam emphasizes musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, and respiratory function to ensure your pet will have the safest anesthetic procedure possible. We will then consider the type and duration of your pet’s procedure and prepare an anesthetic plan. We will use this plan to evaluate, prepare, and conduct the anesthesia administration and recovery of your pet.
Depending on your pet’s treatment and needs, there are several different types of anesthesia your pet may receive:
Preemptive analgesia: Prevention or minimization of pain by the administration of analgesics before the production of pain, to provide a therapeutic intervention in advance of pain.
Local anesthesia: Local anesthesia is the blocking of pain in a specific location of the body, such as a tooth or skin.
Regional anesthesia: Regional anesthesia blocks pain in a larger area of the body, such as the entire lower half of the body. This occurs by blocking nerve impulses between the brain and the specific region of the body.
General anesthesia: General anesthesia renders the patient unconscious, as nerve impulse transmission is inhibited in the brain. This “blocks” pain for the patient throughout the entire body.
Anesthetic agents can be administered in several ways:
Anesthesia can be started by an intravenous injection so the patient becomes unconscious rapidly (this is the most common application of anesthesia).
Anesthetic agents may be breathed by your animal until they lose consciousness, called inhalation induction.
In a multimodal approach, we may administer multiple drugs that act by different mechanisms of action to produce the desired analgesic effect.
Whenever your pet is anesthetized in our hospital, there is a board certified veterinarian or highly trained anesthesia technician monitoring your pet’s vital signs. We monitor many characteristics of your pet throughout anesthesia administration, including:
- Heart rate and pulse strength
- Capillary refill time
- Mucous membrane color
- Arterial blood pressure (direct and indirect)
- Central venous pressure
- Arterial and venous blood gases
- Body temperature
- Acid-base and electrolyte balance
- Pulse oximetry
Although anesthetics can provide complete pain relief and loss of consciousness during an operation, there are occasionally side effects, such as decreased breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure. Our team is trained to ensure that these effects are minimized and addressed before they become problematic.
Most animals tolerate surgery and anesthesia quite well. Just like their human counterparts, however, animals have natural fears of the unknown. Your composure can be essential and calming to your pet and help them reduce fear and anxiety.
Different pets awaken from anesthesia at differing rates. Some animals may be fully alert upon arriving in the recovery area, while others may be groggy for hours after surgery. Although newer drugs and techniques have reduced these side effects, some animals may require a few days to return to normal. If you have any concerns about your pet’s recovery, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.
Every year, millions of unwanted dogs and cats, including puppies and kittens, are needlessly euthanized. The good news is that every pet owner can make a difference. By having your dog or cat surgically sterilized, you will do your part to prevent the birth of unwanted puppies and kittens and enhance your pet’s health and quality of life.
Contrary to what some people believe, getting pregnant–even once–does not improve the behavior of female dogs and cats. In fact, the mating instinct may lead to undesirable behaviors and result in undue stress on both the owner and the animal. Also, while some pet owners may have good intentions, few are prepared for the work involved in monitoring their pet’s pregnancy, caring for the puppies or kittens and locating good homes for them.
During surgical sterilization, a veterinarian removes certain reproductive organs. If your cat or dog is a female, the veterinarian will usually remove her ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus. The medical name for this surgery is an ovariohysterectomy, although it is commonly called “spaying” If your pet is a male, the testicles are removed and the operation is called an orchiectomy, commonly referred to as castration or simply “neutering”
While both spaying and neutering are major surgical procedures, they are also the most common surgeries performed by veterinarians on cats and dogs. Before the procedure, your pet is given a thorough physical examination to ensure that it is in good health. General anesthesia is administered during the surgery and medications are given to minimize pain. You will be asked to keep your pet calm and quiet for a few days after surgery until the incision begins to heal.
Both surgeries prevent unwanted litters and eliminate many of the behavioral problems associated with the mating instinct.
Female dogs experience a “heat” cycle approximately every six months, depending upon the breed. A female dog’s heat cycle can last as long as 21 days, during which your dog may leave blood stains in the house and may become anxious, short-tempered and actively seek a mate. A female dog in heat may be more likely to fight with other female dogs, including other females in the same household.
Female cats can come into heat every two weeks during the breeding season until they become pregnant. During this time they may engage in behaviors such as frequent yowling and urination in unacceptable places.
Spaying eliminates heat cycles and generally reduces the unwanted behaviors that may lead to owner frustration and, ultimately, a decision to relinquish the pet to a shelter. Most importantly, early spaying of female dogs and cats can help protect them from some serious health problems later in life such as uterine infections and breast cancer.
At maturity (on average, 6 to 9 months of age), male dogs and cats are capable of breeding. Both male dogs and cats are likely to begin “marking” their territories by spraying strong-smelling urine on your furniture, curtains, and in other places in your house. Also, given the slightest chance, intact males may attempt to escape from home and roam in search of a mate. Dogs and cats seeking a female in heat can become aggressive and may injure themselves, other animals, or people by engaging in fights. Roaming animals are also more likely to be hit by cars.
Neutering male dogs and cats reduces the breeding instinct and can have a calming effect, making them less inclined to roam and more content to stay at home. Neutering your male pet can also lessen its risk of developing prostate disease and testicular cancer.
Consult with your veterinarian about the most appropriate time to spay or neuter your pet based upon its breed, age and physical condition Keep in mind that, contrary to popular belief, it is NOT best to wait until your female dog or cat has gone through its first heat cycle.
The procedure has no effect on a pet’s intelligence or ability to learn, play, work or hunt. Most pets tend to be better behaved following the surgery, making them more desirable companions. Also, this surgery will not make your pet fat. Feeding your pet a balanced diet and providing regular exercise will help keep your pet at a healthy weight and prevent the health risks associated with obesity. Ask your veterinarian to advise you on the best diet and exercise plan for each stage of your pet’s life.
Yes! This is a one-time expense that can dramatically improve your pet’s quality of life and prevent some behavioral frustrations for you. If you are still uncertain whether or not to proceed with the surgery, consider the expense to society of collecting and caring for all the unwanted, abused, or abandoned animals being housed in shelters Having your pet spayed or neutered is a part of responsible pet ownership.