Pre Operative Care - Screening
Surgery, operation, anesthesia, exam, ausculting, heart, lung, irregularity, EKG, ultrasound, blood chemistry, panel, shave, catheters, intravenous, temperature
Pre Operative Care - Screening
Your veterinarian has told you that your pet needs an anesthetic procedure. Maybe it is for a dental cleaning, a lump removal or neutering.
It is normal for you to be nervous. You are constantly vigilant and attempt to keep your pet out of harms way. But once it is removed from your protective care, you're no longer in control. That can be scary.
Before your pet undergoes its anesthetic treatment, there are several safeguards that can be taken. Which measures your veterinarian will recommend is a function of your pet's age, general health and procedural decisions you and your veterinarian make together.
Even if your pet appears to be in perfect health, a thorough physical examination is part of the standard of care pre-operative workup. The exam will include ausculting, listening, to the heart and lungs. If a heart murmur is heard or an irregularity to the rhythm is noted, an electrocardiogram, EKG, maybe ordered. Abnormal lung or heart sounds could mean that an x-ray is indicated.
An ultrasound may be scheduled if your pet's doctor needs to look into an organ or mass. X-rays only give a 2 dimensional view. Ultrasounds permit a look into the tissue of interest.
I routinely order blood chemistry panels before performing any anesthetic procedure, even routine surgeries such as spays or castrations on young animals. I will admit, the majority of the time the test results are absolutely normal. So why do I run them? Because when I do find abnormalities, I can preemptively adjust my anesthetic protocol.
Blood panels give your veterinarian very important information concerning what is going on inside your pet. Panels are windows to the health of several organs. They also scrutinize the concentration of blood sugar, digestive enzymes, electrolytes and cellular components of the blood.
Clients are sometimes resistant to having their pet's fur shaved. Remember, it will grow back. Removal of fur is needed in order to properly clean an area for surgery. Shaving a small area on a limb is needed for the placement of intravenous catheters. These small tubes permit easy access to your pet's cardiovascular system. Medications to induce anesthesia, fluids to maintain proper blood flow and pressure and possible emergency drugs are administered via catheters.
Many of the same instruments used to monitor human patients under anesthesia are used in veterinary medicine. The rate of the heart and its electrical activity, blood pressure, oxygen content of the blood and body temperature are but a few of the parameters that can be assessed during anesthesia. If unfavorable changes are noted, adjustments to the anesthetic procedure can be initiated.
Anesthesia today has a much higher safety margin than in years past. But I won't lie to you. Any pet, young, old, healthy or sick can experience an anesthetic complication, the worst being an anesthetic death. With the advancements in veterinary medical care before, during and after anesthetic procedures, thankfully the chances of your pet experiencing such a complication are extremely rare.
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