Most animals, at some point in their lives will undergo a general anaesthetic. It may be for routine neutering, dental treatment, investigations (x-rays or biopsies) or even life saving surgery. Each time you will be asked to sign a consent form giving us permission to perform the procedure and listing potential complications (including death). Although to us, anaesthesia is a very routine procedure that we perform many times a day, we always remember that every animal is an individual and reactions can occur, and that this is a very worrying time for every owner. To minimise the chance of reactions, and to deal with them quickly and effectively if they do occur, our team is highly trained in the most modern and safest anaesthetic drugs and we use a whole range of monitoring devices (much like you see in hospitals and on tv) to keep your pet stable throughout the procedure.
From admission your pet will be assigned their own nurse. It is the responsibility of this nurse to ensure that the needs of you and your pet are taken care of during their stay with us. The nurse will settle them into their kennel and perform any pre anaesthetic checks that are required – checking temperature, heart rate, respiration; performing any blood tests and preparing any intravenous fluids that are required.
Once your pet is settled in the nurse and vet will administer a pre-med injection. This is a combination of a mild sedative and pain relief. The purpose of the pre-med is to relax your pet, ensure that they do not feel any discomfort and reduce the amount of anaesthetic needed to perform the procedure. Once the pre-med has had time to take effect, your pet will be brought up to the preparation room to have their general anaesthetic. An injection of anaesthetic drug is given into the vein (usually through an intravenous catheter already in place) and as soon as your pet is asleep the vet will insert a tube into their throat to deliver the anaesthetic gas into their lungs. The depth of the anaesthetic can now be adjusted by changing the concentration of the gas your pet is breathing. As soon as the anaesthetic gas is turned off and your pet is just breathing the oxygen, they will start to wake up.
From the moment your pet goes to sleep until they are standing on their feet again. Their nurse will stay with them ensuring they are warm, comfortable and happy.