Today's modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past. Here at CAH, we do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics, to ensure that a fever or other illness won't be a problem. We also adjust the amount and type of anesthetic used depending on the health of your pet. The handout on anesthesia explains this in greater detail.
Pre-anesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the risk of anesthesia. Every pet needs blood testing before surgery to ensure that the liver and kidneys can handle the anesthetic. Even apparently healthy animals can have serious organ system problems that cannot be detected without blood testing. If there is a problem, it is much better to find it before it causes anesthetic or surgical complications. Animals that have minor dysfunction will handle the anesthetic better if they receive IV fluids during surgery, or sometimes our doctors will alter the anesthetic protocol based on the blood results. If serious problems are detected, surgery can be postponed until the problem is corrected.
We offer in-house blood testing before surgery, which we will go over with you when you bring your pet in. In some cases, our doctors may recommend a more comprehensive screen sent out to a reference laboratory ahead of time, because it gives them the most information to ensure the safety of your pet. For geriatric or ill pets, additional blood tests, electrocardiograms, or x-rays may be needed before surgery as well.
It is important that surgery be done on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of vomiting during and after anesthesia. You will need to withhold food for at least 8 to 10 hours before surgery. Water can be left down for the pet until the morning of surgery. (Withholding of food does not apply to rodents and rabbits)