Anesthesiology is a very powerful science and art that requires high technical knowledge, skill and experience. Our doctors and technicians are highly trained and certified, have many years of anesthetic experience, and follow very strict guidelines and protocols to assure your pets' safety (our "safety first protocol"). Every patient, who is to undergo an anesthetic/sedation procedure, is evaluated just before anesthesia (often with the addition of blood work) to assure a healthy state.
Our anesthetic protocol is typically broken down into three, progressively reversible, steps:
1. Pre-medication (sedative/pain injection(s)) - This calms your pet to the point we can place an IV catheter and allow for less anesthesia needed for the next stage. This stage is the safest and has the least need for reversal.
2. Induction (injectable anesthetic agents) - This stage is still very safe and also more quickly reversible if needed.
3. Maintenance (isoflurane gas) - This stage maintains surgical depth during the procedure. It is still safe and also the most easily reversed by just breathing out the anesthetic gas. Once the procedure is finished, your pet is slowly awakened to help prevent over-stimulation.
Your pet is monitored closely during each of these stages of anesthesia and recovery. We use a combination of tools including vital sign monitors (ECG, blood pressure, temperature, oxygen saturation and respiratory rate) and closely watching the patient (sometimes the most important). We can readily make changes to anesthetic level, and/or give other agents to help balance out all the vital parameters. Although any and all anesthesia carries various risks, all the previously mentioned steps assure the safest possible outcome for your pet.