Your pet’s health and safety are our highest priorities, especially when they will be having an anesthetic procedure. Our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers team knows you may feel apprehensive about your pet going under anesthesia, but your concern should not prevent them from receiving necessary care. To ease your mind, we describe a few of our numerous anesthesia safeguards that ensure your pet experiences a smooth and safe anesthetic experience.

Preanesthetic examination for pets

Our anesthetic safety measures begin during your pet’s preprocedure appointment. While a routine veterinary examination may seem standard, Neighborhood Veterinary Centers veterinarians perform a comprehensive assessment of each of your pet’s body systems, acquiring baseline information about their overall health. Some findings have a direct effect on how your pet will tolerate anesthesia, including:

  • Hydration 
  • Perfusion (i.e., blood flow)
  • Heart rate and rhythm
  • Lung health

Preanesthetic testing for pets

Before your pet’s anesthetic procedure—and perhaps before their procedure is scheduled—your veterinarian will perform a complete blood work panel, which provides key insights to their health, including their body’s ability to transport oxygen, fight infection, control bleeding, metabolize medications, and maintain homeostasis. 

In addition to blood work, your veterinarian may recommend an electrocardiogram (ECG) to measure the heart’s electrical activity. Your veterinarian may also order preanesthetic imaging, such as digital X-rays and ultrasound, to visualize your pet’s lung fields and heart, or for surgical planning purposes.

Individualized anesthetic protocols for pets

Based on your pet’s physical examination and test results, your veterinarian will select specific medications and dosages to achieve balanced anesthesia—a technique that emphasizes pain control (i.e., analgesia) and sedation. They will tailor the protocol to suit your pet’s unique health needs, and ensure they are in a relaxed and pain-free state before, during, and after the anesthetic procedure.

If your veterinarian anticipates that your pet could feel pain during the procedure, they will put additional pain management strategies in place, including local anesthesia (i.e., nerve blocks), constant rate infusions (CRIs), or spinal epidural anesthesia.

Venous access and secured airway for pets

After your pet is sleepy from their initial anesthetic medications, the veterinary technicians place an intravenous catheter (IV), which is an essential access point for administering medications and fluids directly to the patient’s bloodstream—and can save precious time if an emergency occurs.

Once anesthesia is induced and your pet is completely relaxed, the veterinary professional secures their airway through intubation, which protects the lungs from aspiration, and allows oxygen and anesthetic gas to flow in.

Dedicated anesthesia technicians for pets

Neighborhood Veterinary Centers’ dedicated anesthesia technicians are the crown jewels of our anesthetic safety team. They provide continuous care and monitoring, and serve as a direct link to the veterinarian by relaying important updates about your pet’s vitals, anesthetic depth, and pain level. Skilled veterinary technicians can often anticipate an anesthetized pet’s responses, providing timely adjustments and supportive care, and alerting the veterinarian to an impending change, so appropriate treatment can be ordered.

Anesthetic record for pets

The veterinary anesthesia technician also maintains your pet’s anesthetic record, which is used to track your pet’s vital signs at a set interval—usually every five minutes—and maintains a detailed log of each action or treatment performed during their anesthesia (e.g., medications, fluids, surgery, imaging) and recovery. The completed anesthetic record is then stored in your pet’s medical record for future reference.

Perioperative heat support for pets

Sedative and anesthetic medications generally depress—or slow—the body’s vital processes, including blood pressure and heart rate, which causes a temperature drop (i.e., hypothermia), and can delay your pet’s anesthetic recovery. To prevent this unnecessary complication, our team provides gentle perioperative warming that begins before your pet is sedated. With a combination of warm IV fluids, soft blankets, and a gentle forced-air warming system designed for veterinary use, your pet stays cozy and safe from anesthesia induction to recovery. 

Advanced monitoring equipment for pets

Your pet’s vital signs provide valuable information about their anesthetic depth, pain level, and overall health. In addition to a veterinary technician’s hands-on monitoring, Neighborhood Veterinary Centers utilizes state-of-the-art electronic equipment that provides continuous real-time measurements. Our monitoring capabilities include:

  • Pulse oximetry (i.e., blood oxygen saturation)
  • Heart rate
  • ECG
  • Respiration rate
  • Body temperature
  • Blood pressure
  • Capnography (i.e., carbon dioxide levels)

If any parameter is outside the normal range, the monitors audibly alert the team. But more often than not, our observant veterinary technicians have already noted a trend or pattern, and taken corrective actions or informed the veterinarian. 

Dedicated recovery for pets

Anesthetic recovery can be a tenuous time for pets, as their bodies metabolize or breathe off the anesthesia, and return to normal function. We transfer our post-anesthesia patients to a quiet recovery area where activity, sounds, or bright lights will not startle them. Your pet’s anesthesia technician continues to provide close monitoring until your furry friend can be extubated safely. Your pet remains under our recovery technician’s watchful eye until they are ready for discharge.

Our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers team understands your anesthesia-related concerns, and is always available to answer questions about your pet’s safety and comfort. As pet lovers ourselves, we empathize with you, and believe in our responsibility to put your mind at ease when your beloved companion is admitted to an NVC hospital. Rest assured we care for your pet with an unparalleled dedication to ensuring their safety.

Let Neighborhood Veterinary Centers be your trusted Southeast Texas pet care resource. Contact an NVC location near you to schedule an appointment.