Why do we use anaesthesia for dental procedures?
Many people worry about using anaesthesia for their pets, but modern drugs and techniques for administering anaesthesia is very safe. The risk of death is extremely low- about 1 in 1000 and even then, this is normally associated with animals that are already very unwell and/or are being subject to emergency procedures. While the teeth are being examined, cleaned and polished animals can’t control their instinct to move. The veterinarian may risk harming the pet. GA is used to prevent this. It allows the veterinarian to perform the examination and procedure without causing stress, or risking your pets’ safety. When conducting x-rays, GA allows for better imaging and better medical dental advice.
Is pre-anaesthetic blood work performed beforehand?
We recommend that all patients should have basic pre-anaesthetic blood tests performed to check the blood sugar, kidney values, liver values, and red blood cell count, as well as detect abnormalities that could affect the anaesthesia. Sometimes, more extensive blood work will be required, and even for pets younger than one year.
Are intravenous fluids administered during anaesthesia?
Yes. Many drugs used for general anesthesia tend to cause blood pressure to decrease and therefore intravenous fluids are used to combat this. If there are any adverse reactions whilst under anaesthesia, an intravenous catheter is used to administer emergency medication.
How will my pet’s body temperature be maintained during and after anaesthesia?
All animals, especially cats and small dogs, lose a lot of body heat under anaesthesia. The resulting hypothermia can slow the anaesthetic recovery. Where needed, and indeed in most cases, anaesthetized pets should be placed on a recirculating warm water pad and/or under a warm air blanket.
Will my pet be intubated and what anaesthetic gas is used?
The modern gas anaesthetics we use are Isoflurane and Sevoflurane. Methoxyflurane are no longer used and are considered out-of-date.
What monitoring techniques are used?
We monitor your pet’s physiological parameters while they are under anaesthesia so we can ensure that the respiratory and cardiovascular systems are functioning well. A nurse will work beside the vet to monitor the heart rate, respiratory rate, and anaesthetic depth.
Are animals ever too old for an anaesthetic?
No. Animals that are unwell may be more at risk under an anaesthetic, but there is no 'cut off' age for anaesthetics. Age is not an illness in itself, it's just that it means there is more likely to be problems in a sixteen-year-old pet than in a two-year-old. We can check for these and take steps to reduce their impact during the anaesthesia.