Anaesthetic information for you and your pet
What happens when your pet is admitted for an anaesthetic
At Hornsey we provide the gold standard of anaesthesia.
Every pet being admitted for a procedure will be given a full clinical examination by one of our veterinary surgeons. We will then discuss the procedure, any associated risks and give you an estimate. Your pet will then be admitted to our hospital and placed in a kennel.
PLEASE ENSURE YOUR CAT OR DOG IS NOT FED FROM THE EVENING BEFORE THE OPERATION. THEY SHOULD BE ALLOWED WATER OVERNIGHT
Pre-anaesthetic blood test
This checks your pets kidney and liver parameters, red blood cell count and electrolyte balance. This will help us to pick up any problems that do not show up on a clinical examination but may become a problem under anaesthesia. A blood sample is taken from the vein in the leg or neck. A small area of hair will be clipped and local anaesthetic cream applied. The blood test is run in our in house lab so that we can obtain results prior to any anaesthetic drugs being given. If there are any problems with the blood test we will contact you to discuss them, we may elect to delay the anaesthetic and investigate further, or change the anaesthetic drugs we use.
In some cases we will recommend that your pet is put on an intravenous drip before surgery. This helps to avoid dehydration and will also help maintain blood pressure throughout the anaesthetic, protecting major organs such as the kidneys.
Once admitted, and after any bloods are taken, your pet will be given a premed by injection. This usually consists of a sedative drug and a morphine like pain relief drug. There are a number of drugs we can use – many the same as those used in human anaesthesia. We will chose the most appropriate for your pet depending on their age, temperament, condition and the type of procedure they are undergoing.
Giving pain relief before a surgery has been shown to significantly reduce the amount of post operative pain relief required and so your pet will also be given an anti-inflammatory drug.
Once the sedation has taken effect we place an intravenous catheter. We then induce anaesthesia with a drug called propofol. This is also used in human anaesthesia and allows rapid recovery from the anaesthetic.
Once unconscious a tube is then placed into your pet’s airway, this is then connected to an anaesthetic circuit through which they are given oxygen and gas anaesthetic. This allows us to carefully control their breathing throughout the anaesthetic and we can also make fine adjustments to the level of anaesthetic.
During the anaesthetic your pet will be constantly monitored by one of our fully trained nursing staff under the direction of the veterinary surgeon and readings of pulse and respiration are recorded every 5 minutes. A machine called a pulse oximeter is used to constantly monitor heart rate and the oxygenation of the blood. We also regularly monitor body temperature.
During the procedure all animals are placed on a heat pad or a heated air blanket with their body temperature monitored regularly. The reason why we do this is because under anaesthesia animals are no longer able to regulate their body temperature.
Surgery is carried out in a dedicated operating theatre. Our vets wear sterile surgical gowns and gloves as well as masks and hats for every procedure. This maintains a high level of sterility during the procedure and means we only use antibiotics were absolutely necessary.
Once the procedure is finished monitoring is continued until your pet regains consciousness and the tube can be removed from their airway. They are then placed back in their kennel with a heat pad and monitoring is continued until they are able to stand and temperature returns to normal. A good indication that they are recovering is that they are able to eat. If appropriate we will feed your pet as soon as they are awake.
Once we are satisfied your pet is fully recovered your pet will be discharged by one of our vets or nurses. They will go through all the post-operative instructions with you and give you a discharge sheet detailing these. We will also arrange a post operative check, usually 2-3 days later, in order to check your pet has recovered well from the anaesthetic and all wounds are healing well. This check is included in the cost of the procedure.
If you have any questions about the care of your pet while they are with us please don’t hesitate to ask any of our staff.