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Anesthesia for a Senior Dog

Paul Thrasher  |  Apr 24th 2010


Just last week we put a dog under anesthesia who was 19 years old. He did great. With the proper testing and monitoring, our newer anesthetics have become much safer than before. I would request that pre-anesthetic bloodwork is done. I would make sure to include a urine sample with the lab work performed. Many of the laboratories used by most local vets have pretty inexpensive “profiles” that include a chemistry (body function tests like kidney and liver), T4 (thyroid level), CBC (complete blood count identifying infections, anemia etc) and urinalysis (important to diagnose diabetes or kidney function). What types of monitoring systems will be used? EKG (heart), Blood Pressure (hydration and heart), CO2 (breathing), SpO2 (oxygen saturation) and temperature are all important info for a anesthesiologist to know. Who monitors the anesthesia and are they certified? Licensing is not required for all vet techs in all states so it may be wise to check your states requirements. I would also find out how long they have been monitoring anesthesia. As for medications and anesthesia, I would ask if they use a mix of premed like BAG (three meds in one bag mixed in advance and used for multiple pets) or do they individually calculate the dose of each medication for each pet. Personally I prefer individually calculating doses as it is generally safer and provides more accurate dosing especially for elderly (more senstive patients). Another thing is if they require patients to stay overnight after the procedure. If there is a staff member on overnight then it may be a good idea to allow an overnight stay since IV pain medications can be given which allow for a easier recovery. If there is NOT a staff member overnight then I personally would not allow my pet to stay especially after anesthesia since I would be more comfortable monitoring them at home then having no one watch them