Monday, 09/20/2021

Pet owners wish to provide the best possible healthcare to their furry friends for illness, accident, emergency, and overall well-being. Most pet parents are aware that anesthesia is sometimes an inevitable part of any procedure and it helps in preventing pain during the procedure. 

Administering Anesthesia for various purposes needs extensive planning and expertise. This procedure is carried out under the supervision and guidance of Anesthesiologists. They are veterinarians specialized in anesthesia and allied treatments.

In this article, we have tried to explain everything that pet parents need to know about anesthesia when their pets need an anesthetic dosage and other factors associated with anesthesia.

What is General Anesthesia?

The type of anesthetic administration by a veterinarian depends upon the effects of the medication on the pet’s body. In the case of general anesthesia, the entire body of the pet gets affected.

This temporarily prevents it from resisting the surgery being conducted. The veterinarian may administer general anesthesia for more painful surgeries. Vets normally administer drugs for general anesthesia while spaying or neutering, removing muscle mass, laceration repairs, surgery on abdominal masses, and treating fractures, 

These procedures are painful and require time for complete recovery.

For more minor and less painful procedures like dental cleanup, putting stitches on a wound, and more, vets keep your pet under local anesthesia for some time. That causes relaxation of muscles in that particular body part.

Anesthesia is an essential form of veterinary medicine. Designing the dosage, administering anesthesia, and taking preventive measures requires specialization in this domain. That’s why general vets also rely on a board-certified anesthesiologist to help them when required.

When Are Pets Required to be Anesthetized?

As explained in the above paragraphs, pet anesthesia is to be administered with caution and hence veterinarians may need a window of a few minutes to sometimes a few hours to calculate and undertake any emergency or routine surgical procedure on pets. Anesthesia is usually administered using a catheter, injection, sedation, or other methods.


Surgical procedures, such as spaying, fracture treatments, and so on, require time and are painful hence veterinarians use a suitable form of anesthesia to prevent pain and extreme resistance. Once administered, anesthesia makes the pet feel intensely drowsy and leaves them unconscious for the duration of the procedure.

Dental Treatments

Dental procedures like cleanups and implants could cause a lot of pain if conducted without anesthesia. Some specialty dentists avoid anesthesia for dental treatments. However, most pet dentists keep your pets anesthetized prior to the procedure. That helps in completing the process without any pain and also with minimal interference for your pets.

Ideal Medical Procedure to Administer Anesthesia Among Pets

We have tried to explain the procedure which is most commonly used by vets to administer anesthesia in pets. This will help you understand some technical aspects and help you feel comfortable in case your pet undergoes any surgery.

Usually, general anesthesia is a combination of multiple drugs. The veterinarians provide sedation and a pain reliever before actually administering anesthesia. That relieves any possible stress prior to surgery. Then, to render the pet unconscious, the anesthesiologist administers a predefined drug quantity through an intravenous catheter.

Then, the vets provide a breathing tube to let an inhaled anesthetic gas to the pet. Most importantly, the vets monitor the pet’s body parameters, including the heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen level, carbon dioxide output when the pet exhales, and temperature.

Ideally, anesthetics specialists advise using blankets and hot air blowing to keep your pet’s body warmer during the procedure. After the process, the pets are relocated to the recovery area. The nursing staff usually takes care of them till they wake up.

Go through this detailed article to understand the procedure to administer anesthesia among pets. The article covers preparations, evaluations, and practical ways to administer anesthesia for pets.

What Are the Risks of Anesthesia for Pets

Pet parents get worried when the vets talk about anesthesia for their pets. Obviously, anesthesia is not a generic medication and requires thorough knowledge to design the dosage first. Some pre-anesthetic preparation would be necessary. It is a combination of various veterinary medicines which the specialist will take care of. 

Effect of Anesthesia on the Body Temperature

Anesthesia relaxes the muscles of the pet and slows down the overall bodily activities. Therefore, the vets always stay cautious about the body temperature when anesthesia is once administered. The oxygen level and carbon dioxide output also indicate the cardiorespiratory condition of the pet.

If the body temperature of the pet drops drastically, it may cause serious trouble. Reduced body heat causes a slow-down in the pet’s metabolism of the anesthetic drug being administered through a breathing tube. The effect of anesthesia may remain for a particular duration. The pet is monitored at all times including when they wake up and after that as well for any effects post.

Precautions the Vets Take While Administering Veterinary Anesthesia

The specialists prepare an anesthetic plan following the pre-anesthetic examinations. This is an individualized dosage design of a combination of medications for every pet or patient. Veterinary science is quite advanced today, and specialists can assess many things before the actual procedure.

Preanesthetic medication is administered through sedation to relieve stress for the pet and the staff. The vets assess various parameters in the pet, such as blood sugar level, blood pressure, heart rate, and more. They also administer fluids through iv catheters to render the pet unconscious. The crucial precaution in this step is the dosage of these fluids and perfect usage of iv catheter.

The vets also assess if the pet has liver disease before administering anesthesia. Specialists design the dosage of anesthesia medications considering any seizure history of the particular pet being treated. The vets, conducting any surgical procedure, monitor various parameters of the pet constantly.

Anesthesia and Blood Pressure Among Pets

One of the most crucial impacts of anesthesia among pets is the possibility of lowering of blood pressure leading to hypotension. That’s why veterinarians use monitoring equipment to monitor the patient pet’s blood pressure levels throughout the procedure.

Lowered blood pressure may hamper oxygen supply to essential organs and systems. This may lead to severe dysfunction. Some breeds of dogs and cats may encounter upper airway obstruction while under anesthesia. Along with that, some types of anesthesia may cause longer recovery durations among some specific dog and cat breeds.

To summarize, there is no standard dosage suitable for all pets. The anesthesia dosage must be designed and administered very carefully. General anesthesia and local anesthesia again differ in effect on the pet’s body. Veterinarians monitor for any signs and take corrective measures accordingly

Is Anesthesia Life Threatening?

Anesthesia is used to induce drowsiness in pets but like any other medication, anesthesia can cause problems if there is any unexpected reaction and any other unknown factors causing complications. That’s why the decision to give anesthesia is taken after consideration and the dosage calculated and prepared. That’s the reason general vets call upon board-certified anesthetics specialists to the hospital. The specialists carefully derive the medications based on the pet’s age, weight, breed, and other parameters.

Monitoring the breathing rhythm, heart rate, and other parameters like blood pressure play a crucial role throughout the procedure. Some breeds require a small dosage, and some animals may need more. The recovery period also depends upon various factors.

Pre-Existing Medical Conditions and Anesthesia

Before administering anesthesia, veterinarians assess the pet for any pre-existing disease, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, kidney disease, and liver disease.

Extensive research has been done and also is still ongoing on anesthetic precautions. However, pre-existing health conditions complicate the pet’s response to anesthesia. The veterinarians must anticipate any risk for the particular pet and discuss the same with pet owners.

Does Anesthesia Cause Complications to Pets’ Nervous System and Heart Rate?

Anesthesia may create some temporary and sometimes even long-lasting impacts on the pet’s nervous system. It is prominently seen among some dog breeds. Dogs may lose their balance and face problems walking as a side effect of anesthesia. This, however, is seen in rare cases.

Anesthesia and the surgery itself may create adverse impacts on a pet’s heart rate also. It may prevail for the next 24-48 hours, or in rare cases, abnormal heartbeats called arrhythmias are seen in the long term among some dog breeds. In short, dog anesthesia must be designed and administered under anesthesiologists’ able guidance and supervision only.

Read this blog completely to know more about the risks of anesthesia for pets. The article covers various aspects of risks related to anesthesia among pets. We hope it will surely take away the fear of anesthesia.

How to Find an Anesthesiologist Near You?

The simplest way to search for anesthesiologists in your area is to take the aid of our platform. Search for anesthesiologists in your location by clicking on the link from the list of the cities, by entering the city’s name in the given search box, and by entering your zip code in the search box provided on the ‘best veterinarians in a city’ page.

For instance, if you are in or around Las Vegas, you can click on Top Vets in Las Vegas to go to the list of veterinarian clinics and hospitals in Las Vegas. To find a clinic or specialty nearby, type in your zip code or use our specialty filter.

We are providing a specialty filter to narrow down your search. Thus, you can choose the type of specialist vet your pets need and get the contact details of the veterinarian clinics. You can schedule an appointment for your pet instantly.

The Takeaway

The article covers various aspects of anesthesia for pets comprehensively. We have tried to discuss the essential knowledge every pet owner should possess about anesthesia. We hope this article helps you understand the concepts and take away the panic when administering anesthesia to your pet.



Rajashree Goswami

About Rajashree Goswami About Rajashree Goswami