Anesthesia and Pain Monitoring

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We take the safety of your pet under anesthesia very seriously. Each patient has a drug protocol tailored individually based on species, age, breed and the procedure 

At our hospital, each patient has one or more technicians dedicated full time to your pet’s anesthetic monitoring under the care of the veterinarian. These technicians are with your pet from induction (initiation of anesthetia) right through to their full recovery. Anesthetic maintenance and monitoring are crucial for a successful surgical procedure. As such, in addition to a technician dedicated to hands-on monitoring including pulse quality (to identify blood pressure and arrythmias), mucous membrane colour and capillary refill time, and other parameters such as jaw tone and the presence of a palpebral reflex (to assess anesthetic depth), the anesthetic patient is hooked up to our monitors which are at all times monitoring over eight different parameters. We use state of the art equipment for monitoring anesthesia. 

All the anesthetized patients need to be placed on intravenous fluids (IV) to make sure we have access to the circulatory system in the event of shock or anesthetic emergencies. 

Following Parameters are monitored:

Blood Pressure Monitoring

Quick and accurate blood pressure monitoring is essential to a patient under anesthesia. Blood pressure is the driving force for blood flow (perfusion) through capillaries that supply oxygen to organs and tissue beds of the body. Low blood pressure results in decreased oxygen delivery, resulting in the death of important cells and organ damage, most sensitively the kidney and brain. Because lowered blood pressure is a common side effect of many anesthetic drugs, monitoring these values under anesthesia is crucial. 

CO2 (carbon dioxide) Monitoring

CO2 monitoring is extremely valuable to a patient under anesthesia. It is the most accurate tool conventionally available to assess the respiratory system in a patient under anesthesia. Inadequate ventilation (or ‘breathing’) can result in increased CO2 levels, which can cause arrythmias, altered blood flow to the brain, and potentially death. This is particularly important to patients with airway disease (such as asthma), or to overweight animals. CO2 is also the most accurate tool we have to assess cardiac output, or the strength and effectiveness of the hearts contractions.

Temperature

Every anesthesia patient is monitored through an esophageal thermometer which gives an accurate representation of core body temperatures. Anesthesia always results in a dramatic reduction in body temperature, particularly in long procedures. Decreased body temperatures are associated with prolonged recovery and increase in post-surgical infections. 

ECG / EKG / Electrocardiogram

An electrocardiogram detects and amplifes tiny electrical changes on the skin that are caused when the heart muscle “depolarizes” during each heart beat. This helps to detect arrhythmias which can be caused by anesthesia or heart disease, and when present can be potentially fatal if left untreated.

Heart and Respiratory (Breathing) Rate

Heart rate and respiratory rate are measured constantly though an anesthetic procedure. These values are useful for many reasons, including assessing anesthetic depth, body temperature, drug reactions, etc. These are monitored both by our anesthetic monitor, as well as by the technician by visualizing and characterizing each breath, as well as through a stethoscope.

SPO2 – Oxygen Saturation

SPO2 is a measure of the amount of oxygen that is dissolved in the blood stream, carried by red blood cells. This ensures that a patient is receiving adequate amounts of oxygen. Lowered O2 can be a result of inadequate breathing, lung disease, excessive intravenous fluids, bleeding, and much more.


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