I was discussing our practice’s anesthetic and surgical protocol with two pet owners, and they where surprised the level of care their pet receives. Though, they had been taking their pets to Veterinarians for many years, they had no idea that Veterinary practices could be so very different in their approach. Unfortunately, veterinary patient care is not equal from practice to practice.
Even before surgery is started our practice advises blood work for all our patients under going anesthesia. The level of blood work is based on the patient’s age and medical history. We use the blood work to determine if it is safe to proceed, proceed with a different anesthetic protocol, or not do anesthesia at all.
In our practice we also advise intravenous catheter and fluids for anesthesia. Fluids help perfuse all the organs during surgery and help with the patient’s recovery after. Fluids help maintain blood pressure. In the event of even the slightest anesthetic complication an intravenous line is already in place for us to administer medication directly into the circulation immediately.
In our practice our basic philosophy is “no procedure is routine”. We understand that some procedures are less invasive than others, but this philosophy keeps us focused so that we do not get complacent. Complacency at a hospital leads to mistakes. At our practice we perform one surgery at a time. Therefore, only a few surgeries are scheduled each day to give each pet personalized medical attention. Some spay and neuter clinics take the opposite approach. They schedule a large volume of surgeries each day, making it difficult to provide personalized medical attention for your pet.
While under anesthesia, we use monitors to measure tissue oxygen concentration, heart rate, and respiration. They have preset alarms to alert us the moment any minor problem arises. All your pets vital statics are also physically recorded on their record. This allows the doctor and technician to monitor trends in respiration, heart rate and blood pressure.
After surgery when the pet is recovering from anesthesia we have a technician physically monitoring the pet until it is completely “awake”. It is not simply placed in a kennel to recover on its own so that we can hurry and do the next surgery. Surgery should not be performed like an assembly line.
Our Practice also has a “zero tolerance for pain”. Our surgeries receive pain medication while under anesthesia so that they recover pain free. All of are surgeries are evaluated for pain, and sent home with pain medication. Some veterinary practices follow this standard. However, there are some that do not. So, be cautious of “price shopping” for your pets surgical procedures. Make sure you are aware of exactly the standard of care your pet is receiving.