What You Need To Know About Anesthetizing Your Pet For Surgery

If you are having your pet spayed or neutered, know that anesthesia will be used. There are some distinct risks associated with putting your pet 'under', but your vet should be able to screen and test your pet to rule-out many of these concerns. Before you show-up for your pet's surgical appointment, talk with your veterinary provider about pre-anesthesia testing:

  • Testing reduces risks during surgery significantly.
  • Testing can uncover any underlying medical conditions or ailments prior to surgery.
  • Pre-anesthetic testing reveals precautions that should be taken during surgical procedures.
  • Test results become part of your pet's veterinary record which can be helpful later on.

Some pre-anesthetic tests may include:

A complete blood count. A blood count will provide the vet with information related to white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. A low blood count can point to a bleeding issue, which could cause complications and added risks during surgery.

 A blood chemistry panel. These results are integral to ruling out issues with kidney function, liver disease, infection, and even some types of tumors — all of which can be problematic during surgery if undetected.

Electrolyte testing. Electrolytes are integral for your pet's good health, and when levels drop or soar, it can wreak havoc during surgical procedures. Abnormal levels can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even cardiac issues.

Urinalysis. Urinalysis can identify issues with your pet's kidneys, liver, and pancreas, before going under the knife.

Endocrinology tests. Endocrinology testing identifies issues related to thyroid function in pets, which is particularly relevant for older pets that are being spayed or neutered. Hypothyroidism can seriously impact your pet's quality of life with many uncomfortable symptoms, including hair-loss, sluggishness, weight-gain, and difficulty tolerating cold temperatures.

Heartworm testing. If your pet is going in for surgery, your vet will likely require heartworm testing. Heartworms can wrap themselves around the heart, which could have catastrophic results if not detected before your pet is given anesthesia. These parasites are life-threatening, impacting the heart, lungs, and major blood vessels.

Electrocardiogram. An electrocardiogram prior to surgery detects abnormal heart-rate or rhythm that could be harmful for pets being anesthetized.

Talk to your veterinary provider, like those at Caring Hands Animal Hospital and similar offices, about the risks associated with anesthesia as well as what to expect following surgery. Spaying and neutering your dog or cat is the responsible thing to do, and it helps to control the pet population. Keep pre-anesthetic testing in mind, and make sure to inform yourself about potential complications that could arise.