When Is Anesthesia Necessary?

Most healthy pets – including senior pets – tolerate anesthesia well and in many cases, the risk to your pet is more closely associated with the procedure versus the anesthesia.

It is understandable to have anxiety if your pet needs anesthesia, so we’ve provided a more thorough explanation of the process and precautions we take.

Anesthesia Process

Pre Anesthesia


  • Pre-anesthesia physical exam
  • Review pet’s medical history
  • Pre-anesthesia testing may be performed to check for a developing medical problem or risk to anesthesia. Tests may include: blood test to evaluate red/white blood cell count and basic organ functions; chest X-rays; ECG/EKG to better evaluate for any electrical or structural heart disease
  • A pre-anesthetic sedative may be given to reduce your pet’s stress and ease the process. An intravenous catheter is placed to allow administration of fluids and medications
  • The anesthetic may be gas inhalation, infusion or a combination of the two

During Anesthesia


  • Your pet will recieve monitoring and care similar to what a human receives
  • This may include:
    • intravenous fluids
    • medications to support blood pressure and circulation
    • an endotracheal tube to deliver the gas and provide oxygen to the lungs
    • pulse oximetry to measure oxygen in your pet’s blood
    • blood pressure monitoring, temperature monitoring
    • warming blankets
  • An EKG may also be used to monitor your pet’s heart.

Post Anesthesia


  • Your pet will be monitored and extubated in recovery with a trained veterinary technician once they can swallow normally.
  • Once the procedure is finished and it is time for your pet to wake up, he or she will be placed in a quiet, semi-dark cage or kennel
  • Pads and blankets are provided to keep your pet warm, but it’s not uncommon for a pet to shiver during recovery
  • Fluids or medications may be continued through recovery, depending upon the pet’s condition
  • Your pet will receive a pain injection to help with any discomfort
  • Most pets are sent home the same day
  • You will be sent home with post-op care instructions
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