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Pet Anesthesia FAQs: Your Top Questions Answered

veterinarian-checking-dog's-heartbeatIf your pet is scheduled for surgery, a routine procedure like spaying/neutering, or a dental cleaning, our emergency veterinary team will need to administer anesthesia. It’s natural to have questions about what to expect and how to care for your pet after anesthesia. Below, our Los Angeles, CA emergency veterinary team answers five of the most frequently asked questions about anesthesia administration at Animal Emergency Center. Don’t see the answer to your question below? Give us a call at (818) 760-3882 to learn more.

Is anesthesia safe?

We understand that the idea of putting your pet under anesthesia can be a stressful and nerve wracking experience. Thanks to advancements in veterinary technology, today’s anesthesia administration and monitoring is safer than ever. Here at Animal Emergency Center, we follow strict monitoring protocols to protect your pet’s well-being. Our Studio City, Los Angeles, CA veterinarians have decades of experience with administering anesthesia for routine and emergency pet surgery. Your pet is in safe, experienced hands!

Why does my pet need blood work before anesthesia?

Before administering anesthesia our veterinarians will conduct diagnostic blood work. Even seemingly healthy animals could have a serious, underlying organ problem that could interfere with the safe administration of anesthesia. Without blood work testing, this problem would otherwise go undetected. If a serious issue is found, our emergency veterinary team can postpone surgery until this problem is resolved and it is safe for your pet to receive anesthesia. In some cases, if only a minor problem is detected, we can still move forward with the procedure as long as additional IV fluids are available to manage your pet’s health.

Will my pet be in pain after surgery?

In general, it is a safe assumption that anything that causes pain in humans can cause pain in pets! Pets may not show the symptoms of pain the same way that humans do. Even if your pet is not whining or crying, he or she could still be experiencing pain. For this reason pain medication will be available following surgery when the anesthesia wears off. For dogs, for example, we may recommend oral anti-inflammatory medications. Many newer medications are better tolerated by pets and are less likely to cause an upset stomach.

What should I expect when my pet receives anesthesia?

Following urgent or emergency pet surgery, our veterinary team will monitor your pet’s well-being as the anesthesia wears off. While your pet will be awake, he or she may still feel a bit groggy. Your pet will need gentle, compassionate care and a safe, secure place (like a crate) to rest in the 24 hours immediately after surgery.

What are the risks of anesthesia?

Like any medication, anesthesia risks include unexpected allergic reactions such as an upset stomach and vomiting. For this reason pets should not eat food 12 hours in advance of surgery so they have an empty stomach. Since this is not always possible for emergency surgery, our Studio City vet will carefully monitor your pet's health throughout the surgery.