Because it is impossible to diagnose and treat oral diseases without general anesthesia, the successful completion of your pet’s anesthetic procedure is of paramount importance to us. Many pets with dental disease are geriatric, or have medical concerns such as a heart murmur, and often their guardians have been told the pet “can’t be anesthetized”. In our practice, we commonly anesthetize animals with kidney disease, heart murmurs, diabetes, and of advanced age. We have successfully anesthetized dogs as old as 19.5 years and cats as old as 21 years, as well as patients weighing as little as 2.0 lbs.
At Aggie Animal Dental Center, our anesthetic safety measures include:
- Pre-surgical assessment: A complete physical examination & blood tests, with chest x-rays and other tests if indicated, enable us to assess your pet’s overall health and anesthetic risk. Anxious pets may be sent home from the consultation visit with anti-anxiety medications to be administered at home before their procedure visit. Providing at-home premedication decreases these pets' stress levels, which makes anesthesia safer.
- Individualized anesthesia plan: Each pet has an anesthesia protocol tailored to him or her, taking into account your pet’s general health & other medical conditions, previous anesthetic experiences, and personality, as well as the anticipated procedure. The dental specialist in charge of your pet's care will determine the anesthetic protocol for your pet. For complicated cases, our board-certified anesthesiologist may be consulted for specific medication recommendations.
- IV catheterization: An intravenous catheter is placed to provide us with an easy route to administer fluids (which support blood pressure and kidney function), antibiotics, and other medications during the procedure.
- Pain prevention: We help to prevent pain by administering local anesthetics (similar to Novacaine(R)) before any oral surgery. Morphine derivatives, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), gabapentin, and combination sedative/analgesics are also commonly part of our pain prevention protocol, which will vary depending upon your pet’s needs.
- Conservation of body temperature: The use of irrigating fluids in the oral cavity during dental cleaning and oral surgical procedures can result in loss of heat from the body, particularly for cats and very small dogs. Your pet will be resting on a warmed cushion, surrounded by a warm-air circulating system, and given warmed IV fluids to prevent intraoperative hypothermia. This results in a more rapid return to normal after the procedure as well.
- Continuous monitoring: Your pet’s heart rate and rhythm, respiration rate and quality, body temperature, ECG, blood oxygenation (SpO2), end-tidal carbon dioxide (ETCO2) and blood pressure are monitored throughout the procedure by a veterinary technician.
- Just as in a hospital for human patients, a board-certified anesthesiologist is on site, rotating through operatories at our clinic and the adjacent Sams Clinic to check on each patient intermittently. Please note that, due to the number of patients being anesthetized simultaneously at the two clinics, we are no longer able to offer continuous presence of a board-certified anesthesiologist for any specific patient.