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Like you, our greatest concern is the health of your pet. When your pet needs a procedure that requires general anesthesia we tailor our anesthesia protocol to your pet’s specific health condition(s). We want to make sure your pet is as safe as possible during anesthesia. Our veterinarians and certified veterinary technicians are well trained in this area. We use a multi-modal pain management approach to help keep your pet as comfortable prior, during and after a surgical procedure. We utilize opiates, opiate-like medications, NSAIDS (non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs), CRI's (constant rate infusions given intravenously) of pain medication that can be utilized prior, during and after a procedure to help make your pet more comfortable, local blocks, and nerve blocks (dentistry & declaws).
Prior to anesthetizing your pet, we will review your pet's medical history including blood work and will build a protocol for your pet. Our practice is equipped with 2 surgical suites. One is for general surgery (spay/neuter, lump removals) and the second is a complete dental suite. Both suites are equipped with anesthesia machines, monitors, warm water circulating heating pad and IV pumps.
Many of our dental cases take multiple hours to complete. A routine professional dental cleaning, charting, digital dental X-rays takes an average of 40 minutes to 60 minutes to complete. Additional time is needed to perform dental extractions, root canals and orthodontics. In order to make sure your pet is safe during anesthesia, one of our certified technicians will be constantly monitoring your pet for the entire procedure. In order to do a good job, we have to have the proper equipment to do so.
Here is a brief overview of some of the equipment we use to help keep your 4-legged family member safe while under anesthesia.
Intravenous (IV) Catheter:
Prior to placing your pet under general anesthesia, we will clip the hair/ fur off the leg so we can place an IV catheter. The hair will grow back in about 5-6 weeks. By having an IV catheter in place we are able to administer anesthetic medications, IV fluids during surgery, pain medication(s) and other medications that may be needed.
Anesthesia Machine/ Anesthesia Monitors:
We have an anesthesia machine that delivers oxygen and isoflurane gas through a vaporizer. Depending on your pets size we will either place your pet on a rebreathing circuit or non rebreathing circuit (more commonly used in very small dogs and cats). We have an all-in-one PC Vetgard Plus bluetooth anesthesia monitor which includes: ECG, Blood pressure, Pulse Oximetry, core body temperature. We also have a SurgiVet capnography monitor.
A ventilator is a machine designed to mechanically move breathable air into and out of the lungs, to provide the mechanism of breathing for a patient who is physically unable to breathe, or breathing insufficiently. We calculate your pet's tidal volume and set the ventilator to the proper setting (this is a difference between volumes after a normal inhalation and a normal exhalation). This machine is especially helpful in deep chested animals.
During anesthesia we closely monitor your pet's blood pressure. By administrating IV fluids, we are able to help maintain your pets blood pressure. We place a small cuff (human neonate sizes) around one of your pet’s limbs. This is a non invasive machine that takes your pets blood pressure.
IV Pump/ CRI's (Constant Rate Infusion)
An IV pump is used to help administer IV fluids and other medications that may be needed during anesthesia. We have a dual pump so we can use multiple fluids and or medications at the same time. If your pet's blood pressure were to decrease during anesthesia (dehydration, blood loss) we are able to use IV fluids to help increase blood pressure. We also utilize CRI's during our surgical procedure. If we are anticipating that a procedure will be painful for your pet we will deliver pain medication (narcotics) slowly through an IV. This allows us to be able to use less gas anesthesia (which can also drop your pet's blood pressure) and at the same time to keep your per more comfortable prior, during and after a surgical procedure.
An ECG is is the process of recording the electrical activity of the heart over a period of time using electrodes placed on a patient's body. These electrodes detect the tiny electrical changes on the skin that arise from the heart muscle depolarizing during each heartbeat. We will shave the hair/ fur in 3 spots on your pet’s abdomen/ chest area. If the hair/ fur is not shaved, then it makes it difficult for our ECG machine to read. We place a small amount of lubricant on the dot so that they have good contact with your pet’s skin. Our ECG dots (the same dots that are used in human ECG's). The hair will grow back in about 5-6 weeks. In the photo below are 3 ECG dots connected to 3 wires that transmits to our anesthesia monitor. We commonly use a Lead 2 for ECG tracings.
Pulse oximetry is a non-invasive method for monitoring a pet's oxygen saturation(SO2). Its reading of SpO2 (peripheral oxygen saturation). This is done by placing the probe on a thin area of skin or tissue such as the webbing between the toes, tongue or ear.
The device passes two wavelengths of light through the body part to a photodetector. It measures the changing absorbance at each of the wavelengths, allowing it to determine the absorbance due to the pulsing arterial blood alone, excluding venous blood skin, bone, muscle or fat.
Capnography is the monitoring of the concentration or partial pressure of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the respiratory gases. Its main development has been as a monitoring tool for use during anesthesia and in critical care. It is usually presented as a graph of expiratory CO2 (measured in millimeters of mercury, "mmHg") plotted against time, or, less commonly, but more usefully, expired volume. The plot may also show the inspired CO2, which is of interest when rebreathing systems are being used. The capnogram is a direct monitor of the inhaled and exhaled concentration or partial pressure of CO2, and an indirect monitor of the CO2 partial pressure in the arterial blood.
Bair Hugger & Warm Water Circulating Heating Pad:
One of the most common side effects of general anesthesia is hypothermia. To help keep your pet at a normal body temperature, we use a Bair Hugger and warm water circulating heating pad. Your pet is placed on its back during most surgical procedures and is placed on top of the warm water heating pad. We use a hair dresser drape to help enclose the Bair hugger warming quilt around your pet (we call this a burrito technique). By using the hair dresser drape we are able to help keep your pet cozy warm during surgery.
We use a lactate meter (very similar to a glucose meter) to help monitor your pet’s perfusion during anesthesia. Lactate is a measurement of aerobic metabolism. We take lactate readings once every hour during anesthesia. In order to get a reading, we cut a toenail short to obtain a small sample of blood. This is less invasive than drawing blood from your pet’s vein. We then place a clotting agent on your pets nail that causes a rapid clot to form. You may notice that some of your pet’s nails appear shorter than others.
Skilled Veterinarians & Certified Technicians:
Our veterinary staff is trained to properly administer anesthesia to your pet. We closely monitor their vitals during anesthesia and make the necessary adjustments needed to maintain homeostasis. We have had great success in anesthetizing a variety of sized animals with multiple medical conditions. Ensuring your pets safety is our priority. Photographed is one of our certified technicians, Britt who is keeping track of a patient's vitals.