Treatments and Procedures

Anesthesia | Periodontal Disease | Extractions
Endodontics | Orthodontics | Neoplasia
Trauma | Dysphagia | The Feline Oral Cavity

Perhaps the greatest worry the pet owner has is that of anesthesia. The thought of placing an animal under general anesthesia for a "teeth cleaning" seems to discourage many owners from providing needed oral care for their pets. In years past this was a justified concern. Today it is a minor concern. The fact is that veterinarians are able to assess the animal as thoroughly as done in human medicine. Whether the animal is 6 months old or 26 years old makes little difference. After all, age is not a disease. The health of the pet is the most important consideration. With a proper preoperative work-up any hidden health problems will be discovered and treatments will be instituted if needed.

A minimum preoperative work-up for all animals should include:
  • Thorough physical exam
  • Minimum blood work: PCV/TS
The recommended minimum preoperative work-up for adult animals:
  • Thorough physical exam
  • CBC/Profile (12 panel)
  • Urinalysis
Any additional lab tests are a bonus for the healthy pet. The more information the better.

For the geriatric animal or the animal with suspected health problems the following protocol should be used:
  • Thorough physical exam
  • CBC/Superchem/UA
  • EKG (cardiac ultrasound if ANY heart abnormalities are suspected)
  • Chest radiographs, especially if cancer is suspected
  • Abdominal ultrasound if any severe organ dysfunction is suspected
  • Consultation with a specialist if problems are discovered
Today veterinarians are able to screen and monitor health problems with a minimal amount of effort. Yearly blood screens are a good idea in a healthy pet in that they establish a baseline for the animal and reveal early disease when it happens.

Once the pet has passed the preoperative evaluation the next step is anesthesia. The following is a protocol to provide the safest possible experience for the pet and ensure an uneventful recovery:
  • Preoperative pain medication (such as butorphenol)
  • IV catheter
  • IV fluids
  • Anesthesia induction by either gas or intravenous agent
  • Intubation
  • Gas anesthesia
  • Regional anesthesia (nerve blocks) as needed
  • Monitoring (EKG, blood pressure, pulse oximetry, body temperature)
  • Record keeping (body temperature, vital signs)
  • Observed recovery until sitting up
  • Postoperative pain medication if needed
The good news today is that instrumentation is available that tells the veterinarian exactly how "deep" the animal is under anesthesia. Perhaps the single piece of equipment that aids anesthesia monitoring the most is a blood pressure monitor. This monitor should be used on all anesthetized animals because it will warn of any impending problems long before other monitors. In addition, CO2 monitors and ventilators are available. Another simple monitor that should be used is a thermometer. Hypothermia (falling body temperature) frequently occurs during anesthesia and maintaining body temperature is very important. The pet owner should ask the veterinarian how animals are monitored under anesthesia and request that all available equipment be used.

Blood Pressure Machine
Blood Pressure Machine

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