Anesthetic Procedures

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The doctors and staff of Mt. Airy Veterinary Associates are dedicated to providing the highest quality veterinary care to our patients. We understand how special your pets are and we work hard to keep them safe and healthy. One of our most important concerns is your pet’s safety during anesthetic procedures. As you may already know, there is always some risk associated with anesthesia, but we strive to minimize that risk for every patient. Thanks to the development of newer and safer anesthetic agents and protocols, and the use of state of the art monitoring equipment, we are able to anesthetize our patients with greater safety than ever before.

Pre-anesthetic Blood Testing:

Pre-anesthetic blood testing allows us to screen your pet for a variety of health problems that may not be evident upon physical examination. Some of the things we test for include liver disease, kidney disease, anemia, dehydration, and diabetes. An extensive blood panel is required for any pet over 7 years of age. This testing must be sent to an outside laboratory and thus should be drawn at least 3 days, but not more than 4 weeks, prior to the scheduled procedure. For pets that are between the ages of 3 and 7 years we require at least an in-house panel of blood work that can be performed on the day of the procedure. For pets under 3 years of age who are healthy, we do not require, but always offer and recommend pre-anesthetic blood work.

Intravenous Catheter & Fluids:

The placement of an intravenous catheter gives us direct access to the bloodstream for the administration of medications and fluids. This is important for many reasons. First, the catheter makes administering anesthetic agents, pain medications, and antibiotics much easier. It also allows us to administer emergency drugs to your pet immediately in the event that it becomes necessary. Intravenous fluids support your pet during the procedure by helping to maintain blood pressure and hydration. In addition, all anesthetic agents are metabolized through the kidneys and/or liver. Fluids help flush the metabolized waste products from your pet’s body more quickly and give support to these organ systems. An intravenous catheter and fluids are required for every patient undergoing general anesthesia.


Another preventive measure that can be taken to help us keep your pet as safe as possible is a pre-anesthetic EKG. This allows us to test for potential problems with your pet’s heart. Abnormal heart function may not always be detected by auscultation of the chest during examination. The EKG gives us heart rate and rhythm, as well as information about the electrical activity in the heart. This information can help us to avoid complications during anesthesia. If abnormalities are detected on examination or if your pet has shown any symptoms that may suggest heart disease, an EKG will be required prior to any anesthetic procedure. We recommend a pre-anesthetic EKG for all patients, but do not require it if there is no history or current symptoms of heart disease.

Once your pet has been cleared for anesthesia, we continue to take measures to keep him/her safe and comfortable both during the procedure and during recovery. In addition to being monitored by special equipment which display heart rate and rhythm, blood pressure, respiratory rate, body temperature, and blood oxygen levels, an experienced veterinary staff member monitors the vital signs and overall condition of your pet throughout his/her procedure. He/she is placed on a warm water re-circulating pad and is covered with warmed towels and blankets to maintain body temperature. Pain control is also vital in helping to ensure your pet’s safety and comfort. All patients undergoing invasive and/or painful procedures are medicated for pain by injection or patch while in the hospital and are discharged with oral pain medication to continue care at home. We want our clients to rest assured that their pets are receiving the best care and all the love and attention that they deserve throughout their stay in our hospital.

If you have any other questions or concerns regarding your pet and his/her upcoming anesthetic procedure, please do not hesitate to ask one of our staff.