Anesthesia in pets

With anesthesia you can ease the pain of the animals during surgical procedures. Which anesthetic methods are available, when and how are they used?

Anesthesia is also required in animals during various surgical procedures to immobilize them and prevent pain. It is also used in various investigations. For example, for x-rays and endoscopies.

The use of anesthesia is different for each animal. This depends on factors such as species, age, weight, height, race and previous illnesses.

Before the anesthesia

Prior to administering any type of medication, a series of tests is performed to determine the method to be used.

In addition, one must ensure that the pet’s organism is in optimal condition.

To obtain the necessary information before anesthesia, the following examinations are carried out:

  • complete blood analysis
  • Electrocardiogram
  • complete and accurate physical examination

Anesthetic methods in pets

Basically, there are two methods of anesthesia in animals:

Local anesthesia

Local anesthetics are agents that relieve pain when applied to nervous tissue at an appropriate level. It’s the least used anesthetic.

This soothing effect is achieved by obstructing the transmission of a sensitive nerve impulse from the recipient to the cerebral cortex. You apply this method locally to specific operations.

The agents for local anesthesia first enter the bloodstream and are completely destroyed after a certain time. In contrast to general anesthesia, they do not affect the consciousness.

The effect of this anesthesia is temporary, although some risks may exist. Risk factors include age, acid-base balance, hepatitis, cirrhosis and malnutrition.

General anesthesia

This type of anesthesia is most commonly used. The effects are:

  • Hypnosis leads to loss of consciousness.
  • Analgesia is the loss of sensibility. As a result, you feel no pain.
  • The muscle relaxation is due to the loss of mobility.
  • Reflex loss does not cause involuntary movements.
  • The amnesia causes the animal does not remember the operation.

It should be noted that this form of anesthesia is used on an empty stomach. The more painful the procedure, the deeper the anesthetic must be. This allows the veterinarian to operate in peace without the animal moving.

General anesthesia is used for certain important procedures, such as castration or sterilization, fractures, emergency operations, severe wound healing, and even dental problems.

In general, the risks of anesthesia for pets are low. In some cases, however, one has to weigh whether the risks are not greater than the benefits of the surgical procedure.

Phases of general anesthesia in animals

Phase 1: premedication

It consists of the administration of medicines for muscle relaxation of the animal so that it does not feel any pain. You should be present during this premedication, so that the animal can calm down and reduce stress.

As a result, lower doses of medication are necessary in the following. In addition, the recovery phase is highlighted.

Phase 2: anesthesia induction

In this phase, a probe is introduced that remains throughout the procedure and allows for intravenous drug administration. The animal falls asleep completely. This facilitates endotracheal intubation through which anesthetic gases and oxygen are administered.

Normally, a mask is also used which supplies the necessary gases. This mask is transparent to keep the airways visible.

Phase 3: maintenance

In this phase you perform the surgical procedure, the most important moment. Anesthetic gases and oxygen continue to be supplied throughout the procedure as they keep the animal asleep.

Phase 4: diversion

In the last phase you stop the supply of anesthetic gases and only add oxygen. The hollow probe is carefully pulled out and you wait until the animal wakes up. Remember that it is not advisable to leave the pet alone. It has to be monitored constantly.

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