Benefits of surgery outweigh risks of the dreaded anesthesia

At some point in their lives most pets will require some sort on surgical procedure involving general anesthesia. This is a scary thought for their human companions. It is often so scary that some pet owners will avoid proceeding with much needed surgical care for fear that something terrible could happen during the dreaded anesthesia.

At some point in their lives most pets will require some sort on surgical procedure involving general anesthesia.

This is a scary thought for their human companions. It is often so scary that some pet owners will avoid proceeding with much needed surgical care for fear that something terrible could happen during the dreaded anesthesia.

There is always some risk involved with any surgical procedure and with any type of anesthesia.

However, in most cases the benefits of the procedure out weigh the risks.

What about blood work, will this reduce the anesthetic risk?

While a thorough physical exam is performed prior to any surgical procedure and can identify many diseases, blood work can catch those diseases that are not detectable by examination alone.

A complete blood count (CBC) provides detailed information about red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.

It can identify underlying stress, inflammation or infection, an inability to fight infection, and even leukemia.

A CBC is also useful in finding bleeding disorders and anemia. All of this information is important to any animal undergoing a surgical procedure.

A chemistry analysis allows the veterinarian to have a clear idea of organ function.

Typically the liver, kidney and pancreatic function are checked. These organs are essential for breaking down and metabolizing anesthetic medications. If diseases are present in these organs and are severe enough, complications with anesthesia could arise.

Electrolyte analysis is another component in “pre-anesthetic” blood work.

The balance of electrolytes is vital to a pet’s health.

Abnormal levels can indicate vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, cardiac and other diseases.

If abnormalities on blood work are found surgery may be delayed until the condition is resolved or improved enough to proceed with the procedure.

In some cases the veterinarian may recommend the addition of IV fluids, or alternate anesthesia methods or further testing to better understand the severity of the abnormality.

That means the answer is yes, blood work does reduce the risks of anesthesia.

It can also improve overall health and longevity by diagnosing underlying diseases.

So, the next time that you feel that you realize Sparky’s teeth are in desperate need of help, but he’s 13-years-old and the thought of general anesthesia is too much for you, remember that age is not a disease.

If Sparky has no medical conditions or diseases then there’s no reason not to give his mouth the attention that it deserves.

Various staff members at Lomsnes Veterinary Hospital in Red Deer contribute to this column on pets that appear every second week in Sunday Life. Staff provides medical, surgical and dental care for pets and education and wellness counselling for pet owners. Contributors to the column include Dr. Lisa Lomsnes, Dr. Cathy Dick and Dr. Hayley Biederbeck.