Dispelling the Fear of Pet Anesthesia


Veterinary surgery has come a long way in recent years. Routine procedures, such as spays, neuters, or dental cleanings, are remarkably commonplace now, and advanced surgeries, necessitated by sudden illness or injury, can be complete life-savers. 

Regardless of a surgery’s complexity, keeping animals safe, still, and free of pain requires anesthesia. This understandably triggers stress and anxiety for pet owners. While pet anesthesia is very serious, our team takes every possible safety precaution.

Covering the Bases

A thorough physical exam is required before any surgical procedure. We discuss medical history and any possible risk factors, such as weight, age, and breed.

We must know as much as possible before moving ahead, such as their diet, lifestyle, prior reactions to medication, and even daily supplements.

Filtration System

It’s critical to ensure that the anesthetic can be properly filtered out by a pet’s liver and kidneys. Full CBC and chemistry profile reveal whether or not the animal can emerge safely from the surgery, and helps us control any possible risks during and after the procedure.

Thyroid testing, electrocardiogram, X-ray, EKG, and ultrasound may be necessary prior to pet anesthesia. 

The Process

A pre-anesthetic sedative can markedly reduce an animal’s apprehension. An IV catheter and fluid therapy are typical additions. Depending on the case, pet anesthesia is administered via gas, IV infusion, or a combination of the two.

Because pet anesthesia can alter physiological responses, we thoroughly monitor them during surgery. We observe heart rate, respiration, body temperature and oxygen level throughout the procedure.

Safe and Open

Recovering from surgery can be a long road. Animals stay with us until they become alert, but they may still feel the effects of the drugs until well after they return home. We’ll discuss with you in detail what behaviors are normal following pet anesthesia. 

Pain management is a big priority following discharge, and we’ll follow up with you regarding your pet’s level of discomfort. Our veterinarians are always here to address any concerns before and afterwards. 

No Need to Opt-Out

Some pet owners opt-out of elective surgeries, such as dental cleanings, because of the perceived risks of pet anesthesia. Certainly, there are things that can go wrong (aspiration pneumonia, cardiac arrhythmias, post-operative regurgitation, to name a few). We do everything we can to reduce these risks and focus on minute-by-minute care of the pets in our care.

Customized Pet Anesthesia

Every surgery or procedure that requires pet anesthesia is unique. We strive for a pain-free experience, along with a smooth recovery. We design our approach with your individual pet’s species, breed, age, and medical history to guide us. 

The important thing to remember is your Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital team is here for you. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns. When we’re all on the same page, pet anesthesia can have the best possible outcome. 

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