Anesthesic Services

Anesthesia and patient monitoring vary greatly among clinics. When you choose your veterinarian, be sure to ask about the types of anesthetics used and the protocols for monitoring anesthesia. At McKenzie Veterinary Services, our experienced veterinarians carefully choose an anesthetic protocol specific to the needs of your pet that is based on its health, age, past history of prior anesthetics, and one that is tailored for the specific procedure we are performing. Patient monitoring is done for every procedure by our highly trained anesthetic technicians. When necessary for very high-risk patients we may consult or hire an anesthesia specialist to come to McKenzie Veterinary Services and perform the special anesthesia needed for your pet.

Tranquilization and Sedation

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Tranquilization or sedation is used to calm an animal under various conditions. The animal remains awake or may ‘sleep’ but is easily aroused when stimulated. Combinations of sedative drugs are frequently used for procedures such as biopsies, positioning for x-rays, ultrasound, small skin tumour removals combined with local anesthesia, as well as any number of short-term non-invasive procedures. Some newer generation sedatives have the benefit of providing rapid deep sedation which can then be reversed quickly for rapid recovery.

Pet owners frequently request medications for sedation for their animals during travel, thunderstorms, windstorms, fireworks, etc. Sedation and tranquilization are not without risk and so the health and risks to each animal should be assessed prior to dispensing these medicines.

Local and Regional Anesthetic

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These forms of anesthesia involve the use of injectable local anesthetic agents such as lidocaine and bupivacaine. If your pet is having a minor surgical or diagnostic procedure performed, we sometimes use a local anesthetic to help control pain. For example, when we perform a biopsy, we often use a local anesthetic. Local anesthetics cause a loss of sensation in the area where the procedure is being performed. We sometimes use a sedative in combination with the local anesthetic to keep pets calm during a procedure. Topical local anesthetics are also used on the eye when corneal ulcers need to be debrided.

Regional anesthesia also uses local anesthetic agents, but the freezing targets specific nerve bundles and so provides loss of sensation a larger area or region. The kinds of regional blocks used most commonly in our practice are lumbar spinal epidurals for hind leg orthopedic procedures, ring blocks around distal legs to remove spear grass embedded deep into the paw, coccygeal blocks for tail amputations and in cats with urinary obstructions. Most dental procedures which require dental extractions also use regional blocks. These allow us to reduce the depth of gas anesthesia during dental procedures and provide pain control after the procedure is done.

General Anesthesic

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For some procedures, your pet will need to be administered general anesthesia so that he or she will be unconscious and not feel pain. Many pet owners worry about their pets being administered general anesthesia. Modern anesthesia is generally quite safe, and to further lower any risk, we perform a physical examination and may recommend running blood tests ahead of time to catch any underlying health issues. In addition, we follow a specific anesthetic protocol, including IV fluid therapy and monitoring vital signs (see below) during the procedure, to ensure the safety of our patients.

We begin most general anesthetic procedures by administering a sedative to help the pet relax and decrease any anxiety and pain. We then administer an intravenous drug to provide complete anesthesia and place an endotracheal tube into the patient’s trachea. To maintain the state of unconsciousness, we deliver a gas anesthetic (isoflurane) in combination with oxygen through the breathing tube. Local and regional anesthesia is often used in combination with general anesthesia. Recovery from general anesthesia is generally rapid and uncomplicated in small animals.

Patient Monitoring

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All patients undergoing general anesthesia at McKenzie Veterinary Services are monitored closely by trained animal health technicians. Their job is to double check the workings, set up of the gas anesthesia machine and to place IV catheters and set fluid pump rates before anesthesia. After anesthetic induction and intubation, they monitor and record vital signs such as heart and respiratory rates, blood pressure (with Doppler machines), temperature and depth of anesthesia during the procedure. All the monitoring machines in the world do not replace the eye and ears of a trained technician and their ability to detect and respond to subtle patient changes under anesthesia. Their close monitoring does not end until the patient goes home well recovered.

Pain Management

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Pain management in veterinary patients has been a rapidly evolving area of study in recent years and it is now considered to be the norm to provide adequate pain control for every patient. Our understanding and recognition of the signs of pain in animals are better and veterinarians and veterinary technicians receive continuing training to recognize and manage pain.

Managing expected pain begins well before any procedure which may create pain is started and it is well recognized that control of postoperative pain is paramount to a better surgical or dental recovery. Our veterinarians are versed in the best pre-anesthetic protocols and postoperative pain control. There are many newer pain medications which are safe and effective in cats and dogs and your pet will likely receive one or more medications for short and long-term pain control. Always ask your vet about pain management medications that may be best for your pet.

Overnight Boarding Policy

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McKenzie Veterinary Services is a full-service veterinary facility. We are fully staffed during regular business hours and have a dedicated team providing care for all our hospitalized patients. After regular business hours, we do not have staff on site.We recommend that all patients requiring intensive overnight care and monitoring be admitted to Central Victoria Veterinary Hospital where 24 hr emergency and critical care can be provided.

Patients who do not require monitoring and care overnight may be boarded at McKenzie Veterinary Services. However, pets who remain in the clinic overnight will not be supervised. In general, we prefer that non-critical medical or post-surgery patients be sent home and monitored by their owners. Many pets recover better in their familiar home environment.

In situations where an owner prefers their pet stay in the clinic overnight we require them to read and sign a waiver regarding the risks of unmonitored overnight hospitalization.