Adherence to a strict protocol of precautionary measures ensures the maximum degree of safety possible. We believe no shortcut is worth risking the life of a pet. All pets who are anesthetic candidates must be physically examined prior to their contemplated procedure. This allows us to gage the overall health of the pet, listen to heart and lungs, screen for obvious health problems and make sure the pet is fit for anesthesia.
A tiered system of blood testing is employed to evaluate each pet individually, based upon its age, health and anticipated anesthesic procedure. Pets older than 7 years of age should have a complete blood chemistry profile, CBC (complete blood count) and urinalysis completed within the preceding 2-3 weeks prior to an elective anesthesia procedure, such as dental cleaning, mass removal or other surgery. Younger pets should have, at minimum, a "Pre-op profile" of basic screening blood chemistries and packed cell volume to check for anemia completed prior to elective procedures such as castration, declawing, or ovariohysterectomy (spay). Because we are open 24 hours per day, scheduling your pet to have blood drawn by one of our technicians can be at a time you chose that is convenient.
All pets admitted for anesthesia administration will be monitored by a machine that can record an electrocardiogram as part of the monitoring system. Additionally, we recommend that all pets, including our youngest patients, have an intravenous catheter placed prior to anesthesia to allow ready access to the blood stream should any problem develop requiring immediate treatment. Fluid therapy support during surgery is recommended for all our surgical patients as well, regardless of their age. This intraoperative fluid support assists the patient's ability to withstand the possible shock of surgery and speeds anesthetic and surgical recovery.
After induction of anesthesia with injectable medications, most pets will be endotracheally (in the airway) intubated. This allows protection of the airway and provides for respiratory assistance with our ventilator should that be necessary. Pets are maintained under gas anesthesia with a carefully calibrated mixture of oxygen and isoflurane or sevoflurane gases. These gases are commonly used in human medicine today and are extremely safe for birds, cats, dogs, reptiles, small mammals and many other species. The two gas anesthesia agents that we utilize are fast acting and known for their fast depletion in the animal, thus allowing for smooth, quick induction of anesthesia allowing for shorter time under anesthesia and quick recovery time for our patients.
Patients that cannot tolerate injectable anesthesia for induction of anesthesia can also be anesthestized using gas anesthesia alone. Very sick, very senior patients with several chronic problems, and sometimes dogs and cats that need to have a Caesarian section to deliver their babies are often those who need gas induction. These patients can be "put under" using a mask or if small, placed in an induction chamber wherein anesthesia gas is introduced. After induction the pet is entubated just as if an injectable anesthesia was used and the surgery proceeds.
Each patient has one technician assigned to continuously monitor and record anesthetic progress during the anesthestic procedure. This person is given no other duties during this time and is therefore solely focused on your pet's progress and stability. The doctor is thus able to focus on the procedure being performed, confident that subtle changes in anesthetic depth, blood pressure, body temperature, heart function, oxygenation, respiration, and other factors will be noted immediately and adjustments made promptly.