Ask the Vet | Anaesthesia Risks in Dogs

If your pet has to undergo surgery or any medical procedure that requires anaesthesia, you need to be aware of several anaesthesia risks that may arise. While anesthesia inhibits the pain that the dog would experience during surgery, it has certain side effects that range from mild to severe.

Administration of Anaesthesia

There are different types of anaesthesia protocols that are administered to pets. The type of anaesthesia that’s required by the dog depends on the complexity of the surgery being performed, the pet owner’s financial capability and the overall health of the pet. Pet anaesthesia is also categorised into different stages and further subdivided into planes.

Although the mortality rate associated with anesthesia is quite low, pet owners need to thoroughly understand the type of surgical procedure that the dog has to undergo and weigh the risks of not performing the surgery with the risks of administering anesthesia.

Risks of Administering Anesthesia

When administered properly, anesthesia can help the vet successfully complete any type of surgical/medical procedure. Stage-1 and stage-2 anesthesia are generally preferred for surgical procedures. But if the anesthesia is very strong or if the dog’s body reacts negatively, stage-3 anesthesia sets in. This stage of anesthesia is characterized by respiratory problems and the inability to use the chest muscles.

Pets in stage-3 anesthesia require supportive care in terms of IV fluids and oxygen therapy or assisted ventilation. If the pet doesn’t recover from stage-3 anesthesia, he may advance to stage-4. If this is the case, the pet may suffer from circulatory collapse and death.

Complications Involved

If the dog is suffering from an underlying heart or liver problem (which is especially true for geriatric pets), the vet will have to carefully evaluate the pet’s risk of undergoing surgery under anaesthesia. Most vets will pre-screen the pet for health problems. Blood tests are highly important as they help the vet make a final decision.

Older pets require special anesthesia protocols as they’re more susceptible to respiratory depression. Geriatric pets will also have lower body temperatures and low heart beats. After taking all factors into consideration, the vet will have to select the safest drug available for use in pets.

Tips for Pet Owners:

  • If your dog requires anaesthesia, consider working with a certified vet in Macau who is very knowledgeable about anaesthetic procedures.
  • Find out the cost involved. If you can’t afford an expensive anesthetic drug, the vet may offer you a cheaper option. Make sure that the cheaper option doesn’t compromise on the pet’s safety.
  • Find out how long the pet will take to come back to consciousness.
  • Weigh the pros and cons of administering anesthesia by discussing the same with the vet.
  • Since every pet is different, the risk of adverse reactions or complications varies. Find out how your pet is likely to respond to the anesthesia and the surgery.

If the dog is ill on the day of the surgery, re-schedule the surgery for another day. It’s best to avoid any risks.

Since your dog relies on you for help, it’s important for you to find out all you can about the type of anaesthesia that will be administered, the risks involved, and the success rate of the surgery that needs to be performed. By Dr Ruan Du Toit Bester

Hope this info helps

Till next week

Dr Ruan

Ask the Vet: Royal Veterinary Centre

Tel: +853 28501099, +853 28523678

Emergency: +853 62662268


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