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Anesthesia is a critical and necessary part of your pet’s surgical process, however, there are some risks involved that pet owners should take into consideration to help ensure the success of their pet’s surgery.Find out more about these risks, and questions to ask your veterinarian before your pet goes into surgery, here. Lynne Kushner, a private practice veterinary anesthesiologist and professor, the degree of sedation or anesthesia your pet will require depends on the procedure or stimulus they need.The difficulty with dogs is they’re generally bigger so we have to restrain them more.Moving, positioning and ventilating them can be challenging,” Hopkins said.Patients with diagnosed or suspect tracheal collapse are left intubated as long as possible to help allow inflammation to dissipate and to allow an open airway while recovering. In a multi-institutional British study, healthy dogs were found to be at .05% risk for death during anesthesia.The mortality rates for healthy cats were at 0.1%, while sick cats and dogs have a mortality rate of 1.3% According to Kushner, anesthesia should be reconsidered if the risks of giving your pet anesthesia outweighs the benefit your pet will get from the procedure, and if your pet has heart, airway, tracheal or pulmonary disease or needs any type of longer procedure or surgery, she recommends seeking out a specialty practice with an anesthesiologist on staff.Their smaller size and lower amount of body fat also makes them more susceptible to hypotension, making it important to keep them warm during surgery, Kushner said.

Sedation produces a milder effect than anesthesia [and is] used for less invasive procedures such as ultrasounds, bandage changes and minor wound repair.” Your pet may be given local anesthesia, which affects a restricted area of the body, for things like removal of a small skin mass.

Kushner also recommends general anesthesia for dental issues to protect your pet’s airway and help with breathing as tartar is removed from the teeth.

Puppies and kittens older than three months can be sedated or anesthetized, but they may not respond to drugs as well because their organs aren’t yet functioning at full capacity.

For instance, inserting a catheter in a cat’s artery to monitor blood pressure can be harder to do because their vascular system is smaller.

Cats also have a tendency to experience laryngeal spasms in the larynx when a breathing tube is inserted, making it important for an experienced person to perform the intubation.

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