It’s also important to maintain an animal’s normal body temperature, because if the body temp drops, the patient does not metabolize the anesthetics or wake up properly.Tufts veterinarians use blankets that recirculate warm water, and warm air blows over patients to prevent them from getting cold.“If you are conscious and very dehydrated, you will faint, which brings your head level with your heart,” making it easier for blood to get to the brain, Karas says.
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“I feel more comfortable having an animal like that anesthetized where you have [a board-certified veterinary anesthesiologist] standing by with a more advanced arsenal of drugs that can keep its blood pressure where we want it to be.” At Tufts, anesthesiologists make adjustments in their protocols depending on a pet’s age and health condition, says Mc Cobb.
“We don’t do one-size-fits-all anesthesia here.” Many dogs and cats have heart murmurs that have never posed a problem, but “if those pets are going to have anesthesia, we want to investigate that further,” Mc Cobb says.
To lessen pre-procedure stress, Tufts patients are given a sedative and a pain reliever before anesthesia is administered.
Once the animal is relaxed, the anesthesiologist or a supervised veterinary technician will insert an intravenous catheter and inject a drug, often propofol, a short-acting anesthetic also used in human medicine, to render the pet unconscious.
At a full-service veterinary teaching hospital, specially trained veterinarians assume roles identical to anesthesiologists in human medicine, says Mc Cobb, one of four board-certified anesthesiologists on staff at Tufts’ Foster Hospital for Small Animals.