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Anesthesia is an intervention that allows various beneficial procedures to be performed on your pet. The best anesthetic is the one that provides the lowest risk to the patient. The needs of anesthesia are multifaceted and so are the endpoints, so it is often necessary to use a combination of drugs such as general anesthetics, local anesthetics, hypnotics, sedatives, paralytics, and analgesics (narcotics and non-steroidal medications).
General Anesthesia: Suppression of the activity in the central nervous system resulting in unconsciousness and a total lack of sensation. This is needed for surgery (thoracic, abdominal, laceration repair) and other procedures in pets such as endoscopy, MRI and CT scans, chest tube placement, reducing and splinting dislocations and fractures, removal of foreign bodies located in the mouth or esophagus, urinary catheter placement in some animals.
Local anesthesia: Anesthesia affecting a local area only, such as specific nerve or field blocking. This is often done to provide anesthesia to an area of the body prior to a more invasive procedure such as a diagnostic thoracic tap, chest tube placement, minor or major surgical procedure, or to help with pain following trauma.
Sedation: The process of calming or reducing anxiety, A sedative is an agent that quiets or exerts a soothing or tranquilizing effect. This is often needed for allowing physical examination in fractious animals, minor procedures such as evaluation, clipping, and cleaning of wounds, positioning for x-rays, ultrasound evaluation, diagnostic thoracic and abdominal taps.
Emergency Animal Hospital of Northwest Austin offers a variety of anesthesia services for your pet. Anesthesia is induced using a variety of medications, both injectable and inhaled, depending on the type of anesthesia required and pre-existing and current medical condition of your pet. A multimodal approach is often used, this approach uses multiple agents, targeting different areas, to achieve the desired effect, thus allowing decreased dosages of each agent reducing possible side effects that may be encountered.
Pets undergoing general anesthesia are typically pre-medicated with an injectable drug. This pre-medication helps the pet relax so that full anesthesia can be induced more smoothly and safely. Next, the pet receives intravenous medication to cause loss of consciousness. A tube is then placed into the pet's upper airway, and gas anesthesia keeps the pet comfortably anesthetized during the course of the procedure.
While a patient is under anesthesia, he or she will be monitored in much the same way as a human undergoing anesthesia would be. This monitoring includes listening to your pet's heart and lungs, visually assessing your pet's reflexes, respiratory rate and effort, and using equipment to monitor parameters such as your pet's EKG, heart rate, blood pressure, level of blood oxygen, end-tidal CO2, and temperature. Trained technicians are always present alongside veterinarians to ensure that your pet's procedure goes smoothly.