Our goal is to make our anaesthetic protocols as safe and comfortable for our patients as possible.  Any patient having a procedure that requires sedation or anaesthesia has an intravenous (IV) catheter placed.  This is a small tube inserted into the vein and secured in place so that medications or fluids can be administered without having to repeatedly insert needles into the patient.  An IV catheter is also an important safety precaution as it allows rapid access to the blood stream, should an emergency arise.  IV fluids help to keep the patient’s blood pressure stable, keep organs functioning to their full potential and prevent the pet from becoming dehydrated during surgery.  Patients on gas anaesthesia (and sometimes those under heavy sedation) have an endotracheal tube placed to make sure that their airways are clear at all times, to prevent any saliva or stomach contents being inhaled into the lungs and to help deliver the correct amount of anaesthetic gas.  As low body temperature can cause a drop in blood pressure and lead to a slower recovery, our patients’ temperatures are monitored closely and a special warmer is used for those that need some extra warmth.  All anaesthetic drugs are tailored to the patients’ age, species and health status to deliver the safest possible protocol.   Each patient under anesthetic has a dedicated technician closely monitoring their vital signs and comfort before, during, and after every procedure.

Case Study: Shadow's Spay




This is Shadow, a seven month old German Shepherd.  She is in today for an ovariohysterectomy (“spay”).










Before surgery, a complete physical examination is performed.








A blood sample is taken to check Shadow’s organ function to make sure that she will handle her anesthetic well.










As Shadow’s examination and pre-anaesthetic bloodwork show that there are no underlying problems,  Shadow is given medication to relax her and to make her more comfortable after surgery.  When the medication has taken effect, she is taken to the treatment room to be prepared for surgery.

















Some hair on Shadow’s leg is clipped and the skin is cleaned with an antiseptic prior to placement of an intravenous catheter.  The catheter (a small tube placed in the vein) will be used to deliver Shadow’s anaesthetic medications, to give her fluids during surgery and to provide access to the bloodstream in the very unlikely event of an emergency.



Medications are given through the catheter to induce anaesthesia, then a tube is placed into Shadow’s trachea (“airway).  Thus tube will be used to deliver both oxygen and anaesthetic gas to keep Shadow asleep during surgery and to make sure that her airway remains open so that she can breathe properly.





An IV fluid line is connected to Shadow’s catheter and a “drip” is started.  The fluid will help Shadow maintain a normal blood pressure while she is under anaesthetic, make sure that she doesn’t become dehydrated, and help her recover better after surgery.  An IV pump is used to make sure that Shadow receives a precise dose of fluids.




Shadow is connected to a machine that will monitor her vital signs continuously during surgery.  The machine tracks her blood pressure, heart rate, ECG tracing, body temperature, respiration rate and the oxygen saturation of her blood.  Shadow will also be monitored at all times by one of our Registered Veterinary Technicians until she has recovered.










Shadow is positioned to expose the area where surgery will be performed (in this case, her belly).  The hair is clipped and the skin is cleaned with antiseptic.  The area where the surgical incision will be made is “frozen” with a local anaesthetic - this will help Shadow feel more comfortable after surgery as the area where the stitches will be will be less sore.  Another application of antiseptic is made.  Shadow is then taken into the surgery room.


The surgeon scrubs her hands with antiseptic, and puts on a sterile surgical gown and sterile gloves.  Next, she places sterile surgical drapes on  Shadow, leaving only the surgical field exposed.




A separate, sterile set of surgical instruments is used for each patient.




Shadow in surgery…


Shadow’s owner requested that she be microchipped after surgery. The microchip is inserted under the skin between the shoulder blades.  This is a form of permanent identification that will help Shadow’s owners find her should she ever get lost.  We recommend that all pets be microchipped for their safety.  A microchip can be inserted at any time, but many owners request that it be done at the time of spay/neuter.  





While Shadow is waking up, an elizabethan collar is fitted.  This collar will prevent Shadow from licking or chewing at her stitches.





Shadow is carried to her kennel and tucked in under a blanket to keep her warm while she finishes waking up.  She will remain on IV fluids until she is ready to go home.









Shadow is ready to go home!



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