Contact Us:   Purleigh | Maldon | Burnham | Totham

General Anaesthesia / Sedation 

We appreciate your concerns about your pet’s sedation or general anaesthetic. We do not think you are silly because of your worries. All anaesthetics carry some risk and each animal reacts slightly differently.

Each premedication and general anaesthetic is tailored to the individual animal. Age, state of health, specific breed considerations and the type of surgery all determine our approach to the medication and anaesthetic required.

We ask you to sign an operation consent form on the day of your pet’s surgery, not because we fear the worst but to make you aware that the procedure does carry some risk and that you have been made aware of this.

After either a veterinary surgeon or nurse has admitted your pet for the day, your pet is administered a premedication injection along with the appropriate painkiller injections. We place an intravenous catheter in all patients through which the injectable induction general anaesthetic is administered. An indwelling intravenous catheter in all of our patients gives us the ability to respond to any anaesthetic crisis with the utmost speed. The patient is then intubated (that is, a tube is placed into the windpipe) through which the oxygen and anaesthetic gas is delivered. Gaseous anaesthesia is shorter lasting than injectable general anaesthetic and this allows better control of the level of anaesthesia throughout the procedure.

We monitor blood pressure on all our patients. We clip a small amount of hair from behind the foot and use a Doppler blood pressure machine that allows its measurement. We use a capnograph and pulse oximeter on those patients undergoing longer anaesthetic procedures whilst an oesophageal temperature probe allows us to regulate normal body temperature. Capnography and pulse oximetry allow us to improve the safety of the general anaesthetic. Anesthetised patients can’t regulate their temperature. Research shows that core body temperature drops rapidly following the induction of general anaesthesia, increasing the risk for unintended hypothermia (excessive loss of body heat) - an all-too common and costly complication associated with higher mortality rates, longer hospitalisation periods and an increased rate of wound infection. Forced-air warming is a simple, cost-effective method to prevent unintended hypothermia and its complications. Bair Hugger warming systems are installed in all our surgeries. The clinical importance of preventing hypothermia in animals is recognised by vets as a fundamental requirement for successful outcomes in surgical interventions. Bair Hugger™ therapy temperature management units have become the standard of excellence in forced-air warming. The Bair Hugger system of forced air warming blankets provides safe and effective heat distribution to our patient. The surgery patient is kept toasty warm during surgery and recovery. This has been the gold standard in human health care and we are pleased to offer this to our surgical patients.

The veterinary nurse monitors the level of anaesthesia, respiratory rate, heart rate, blood pressure, carbon dioxide levels, oxygen levels and body temperature every 5-10 minutes throughout the procedure. These measurements are conveyed to the veterinary surgeon who advises the nurse on the appropriate anaesthetic adjustments. If the patient’s blood pressure decreases, intravenous saline boluses are administered to counteract this. If the blood pressure does not improve within a short period, an intravenous drip will be set up to allow blood pressure to normalise.

Some procedures may require sedation, rather than general anaesthesia. There are certain advantages and disadvantages in the use of a sedative and these are taken into consideration whether general anaesthesia or sedation is administered to your pet. One advantage of sedation is that the effects can be reversed with a reversible injection, waking your pet up reasonably quickly.

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