Anaesthesia Information for Owners

For a general anaesthetic, your animal should arrive in the afternoon of the day before the procedure. This will allow your pet to settle into the Hospital, and permit the anaesthetist to examine the animal and formulate an anaesthetic plan. This also provides time for any further diagnostic procedures necessary.

When your animal is being admitted for an anaesthetic, the anaesthetist will ask for the following information:

  • your pet’s chief complaint (i.e. why they are being admitted)
  • any current treatments (medical and herbal therapies)
  • what diagnostic testing has been performed
  • other ongoing medical problems unrelated to current issue
  • known allergies and intolerances to medications
  • previous problems with anaesthesia

Cats and dogs will be fasted overnight to empty the stomach and reduce the risk of regurgitation during anaesthesia; access to water is not restricted.  Horses, cattle, sheep and goats will be fasted for 12-24 hours before the anaesthetic to reduce the content of the gastrointestinal tract.  Young animals (puppies, kittens, foals etc) and animals on a strict feeding schedule (e.g. diabetic pets) will be dealt with individually.

On the day of the anaesthetic, your pet will receive a sedative and an intravenous catheter will be placed. After injection of the anaesthetic drugs, the patient will be connected to the anaesthetic machine (via a tube in their windpipe [trachea]) through which they will breathe anaesthetic gases.  An anaesthesia staff member will be dedicated to monitor your pet’s anaesthetic throughout the entire procedure.  Once the procedure is finished, the patient will be recovered from the anaesthetic.  They will stay with the anaesthesia department until fully awake; pain relief will also be supplied for as long as necessary.

image of dog having hair clipped for anaesthesiaAnimals may have hair clipped from several sites on their body. These include the surgical site, any catheter sites, sites of local anaesthesia and placement sites of monitoring equipment.

Very occasionally pets can be more sensitive to certain drugs. This is not common, but in the case of specific drug hypersensitivities we can tailor the anaesthetic protocol accordingly. Please let us know if your animal has a known or suspected sensitivity to a particular drug. We are keen to look at any information you can provide us on this issue.