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Anesthesia and Patient Monitoring

Anesthesia is the adminstration of a medication to cause loss of sensation with or without loss of consciousness. There are many different anesthetic protocols. The one chosen will depend on the procedure to be performed, the age and health status of the animal and the degree of pain control required. Patients are always monitored by a registered Animal Health Technologist. Monitoring systems include taking heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, oxygen levels in the blood and carbon dioxide levels in exhaled air. Many of the anesthetics we use are very similar to the ones used in human hospitals.



Tranquilization or sedation is used to calm an animal under various conditions. The animal remains awake or may ‘sleep’ but is easily aroused when stimulated.

Sedation is often required for procedures such as taking radiographs where the animal needs to be calm and remain still.

Pet owners frequently request sedation for their animals during travel, thunderstorms, fireworks, etc. Sedation and tranquilization are not without risk and each animal needs to be assessed prior to dispensing these medicines.

Patient Monitoring


During general anesthesia, our patients are monitored closely by a registered Animal Health Technologist for heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, blood oxygen levels and exhaled carbon dioxide levels.

Body temperature is also monitored.

Monitoring these parameters allows us to intervene earlier and prevent any anesthetic risk to your pet. We chart your pet’s statistics every 5 minutes from the moment he or she is anesthetized to the time when he or she wakes up.

General Anesthesia


A general anesthetic results in a loss of consciousness in the animal and a loss of sensation throughout the body.

We recommend a blood panel be performed prior to a general anesthetic. This is to make sure the liver and kidneys are functioning normally and that there are no underlying disease conditions present that may increase the risk of the anesthetic.

At our Clinic in most cases an animal being given a general anesthetic has a catheter inserted into a vein and is hooked onto an intravenous electrolyte drip. This helps to maintain good blood pressure throughout the procedure. It also gives the Veterinarian immediate access to a vein in an emergency situation.

Most general anesthetic procedures involve several steps beginning with the administration of a preanesthetic injectable medication. This is usually a combination of a sedative and analgesic (medication to help reduce pain).

An intravenous injection of an anesthetic renders the animal unconscious while a breathing tube is placed into the animal’s trachea. A gas anesthetic is delivered in combination with oxygen to the animal via the breathing tube to maintain the state of unconsciousness.

Although general anesthetics are very safe there is still the remote chance of an anesthetic accident.

We also use a heat pump that pumps warm air into a blanket that we cover the animals with during the procedure. This helps to maintain body temperature.

As mentioned above we reduce the risk associated with anesthesia by doing a thorough physical examination, blood work prior to anesthesia, intravenous fluids, maintaining body temperature and use proper anesthetic monitoring protocols and equipment.

Local Anesthesia



If your pet is having a minor surgical or diagnostic procedure performed, we sometimes use a local anesthetic to help control pain. For example, when we perform a biopsy (in which a small portion of tissue is surgically removed so it can be examined), we often use a local anesthetic. Local anesthetics cause a loss of sensation in the area where the procedure is being performed. We sometimes use a sedative and/or anxiolytic (anti-anxiety medication) in combination with the local anesthetic to keep pets calm during a procedure.

Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns about your pet receiving local anesthesia or about the procedure for which your pet is scheduled.