Anesthesia is most clients number one concern and most common reason for resisting having dental procedures done on their pets. At Tampa Bay Veterinary Dentistry, we recognize this is a legitimate concern for pet owners and try to make every attempt to make anesthesia as safe as possible. The number one reason most people avoid their own dentist is for fear of pain. This is also top priority at our practice as we recognize there can be significant discomfort with dental treatments, but there doesn’t have to be.
The advent of newer gas anesthetics such as Isoflurane and Sevoflurane have dramatically reduced the number of anesthetic complications and allow for quicker, lighter planes of anesthesia, and much quicker recoveries. Most patients are awake, standing, and walking around with minimal effects of these gas anesthetics within 15-20 minutes of discontinuation of anesthesia. We prefer to monitor patients for longer than this, but the vast majority of our patients go home the same day. While this type of gas anesthesia has many more advantages, this one is what most clients will see and appreciate. The drawback to these anesthetic gasses is that they provide relatively little analgesia, or pain management. For this reason, you will see that we utilize a number of pain management modalities to alleviate any discomfort. We extensively use local anesthetics or “nerve blocks” to numb an area prior to starting any sensitive procedure. Research shows that if we block pain before it is started, it is much easier to manage. The local anesthetic allows us to maintain the general anesthetic at as light a level as possible, usually only needed to keep the patient still.
Other measures taken to evaluate the patient can also be very beneficial. We ask that all patients have pre-anesthetic complete blood count and chemistry profile be performed (usually at the referring hospital if possible) and may request further diagnostics such as chest x-rays, urinalysis, heart ultrasound, or EKG in individual cases. These tests help us to tailor an anesthetic protocol and dispense post-operative medications for each patient. If deemed necessary, we can consult with one of the veterinary internists at Tampa Bay Veterinary Internal Medicine for complicated anesthesia or potential medicine interactions.
Anesthetic monitoring is also an important component to any anesthesia. All patients undergoing anesthesia have an IV Catheter placed and are administered intravenous fluids unless precluded by medical conditions. Patients are typically monitored by a combination of a respiratory monitor, heart rate monitor, blood oxygen level, and EKG. All patients are placed between two warm water circulating blankets to maintain core body temperature. Even with all these measures, one of the most important components to anesthetic monitoring is the doctor and technician. Dr. Peak and his nurses are constantly monitoring heart rate, pulse quality, respiratory rate, mucous membrane color, and overall anesthetic depth. While we cannot guarantee the outcome of any anesthesia, we take every anesthetic episode seriously and treat every patient with care by keeping them with us until they are recovered enough to walk to our recovery area on their own, recover in our ICU, or are discharged to their owner.
Please feel free to discuss with us any anesthetic or pain management concerns you may have for your pet.
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