Anesthesiologists play an important role in the provision of safe and optimal anesthesia, and contribute their expertise and experience to patient monitoring and support, pain management, local analgesia, fluid therapy, and postoperative care. Our board-certified veterinary anesthesiologist supervises and trains our technical staff in the delivery and monitoring of safe anesthesia. At VCA Canada Western Veterinary Specialist & Emergency Centre we use advanced equipment and support techniques to closely monitor patient well-being, including: electrocardiography (ECG), pulse oximetry (measuring the patient’s oxygen levels), capnography (measuring how well the patient is breathing), blood pressure monitors and ventilators. Safe anesthesia is much more than simply ensuring that a patient recovers after its procedure is completed. By developing a management plan that is specific for an individual patient, and by paying attention to a patient’s physiologic functions during anesthesia, our anesthesia team strives to maintain our patients as normal as possible during their anesthetic procedures and after they have recovered.


Patient Evaluation

Every patient is different. As you might expect, no two pets are the same in terms of their states of health, their responses to the stress of being hospitalized and their potential responses to the different sedative and anesthetic drugs that can be used in a veterinary hospital. Patient safety is our top priority. Because of these differences and the inherent risks associated with sedation and general anesthesia, VCA Canada Western Veterinary Specialist & Emergency Centre combines the experience and expertise of board-certified anesthesiologists with the services offered by specialists in surgery, internal medicine, ophthalmology, critical care, and oncology to provide your pet with a complete level of care. Using this combined approach to patient care, our team of specialists are able to assess individual patient risk, detect and stabilize any health concerns that may exist prior to anesthesia and surgery, and closely manage your pet’s post-operative care.

Patient Monitoring

Since no two patients respond identically to anesthesia, one of the most important ways to improve the quality of a patient’s anesthetic care (and decrease the chances of having potential complications) is to monitor and manage a patient’s vital signs closely throughout its procedure. At VCA Canada WVSEC we use two different but complimentary methods to monitor our anesthetized patients: “hands-on” monitoring performed by registered Animal Health Technologists to provide us with ‘subjective’ information (e.g. depth of anesthesia), and electronic monitoring equipment to provide us with ‘objective’ information (e.g. heart rate, blood pressure, etc.). Hands-on monitoring involves listening to heart and lung sounds, manually palpating the strength of pulses and inspecting mucous membranes for their color and refill time. Using specifically designed anesthesia monitoring equipment allows for accurate measurement of blood pressure, oxygenation, ventilation, heart rate and rhythm, and body temperature management. Studies in people have shown that when anesthetists only use hands-on monitoring, they detect anesthetic-related problems only 50% of the time. In those same studies, the use of blood pressure, oxygenation and ventilation monitors significantly decreased the chances that the anesthetist would miss detecting common anesthetic complications.

Your veterinarian may refer your pet to VCA Canada WVSEC for performance of complex surgeries, stabilization and treatment of life-threatening illnesses, or for further diagnostic testing. For the reasons described above, we have invested in a variety of patient monitors to ensure that this level of care is available to every anesthetized patient we treat. This way, together with an individualized preoperative assessment of each patient in our care, we can better manage risk and improve the outcome of each procedure and the well being of your pet.

Team Approach

We are very fortunate to have a dedicated and experienced staff of veterinary technologists (nurses) and technician assistants (TAs) to help care for your pet while it is being hospitalized. These individuals are highly trained and have years of experience caring for animals. In addition to being registered veterinary technologists, several of our staff are certified or are studying to become certified as Veterinary Technician Specialists in Anesthesia through the Academy of Veterinary Technician Anesthetists ( This process involves training under the supervision of veterinary specialists, participating in continuing education seminars, submitting a series of detailed case reports, and maintaining an annual case log of patients that they have personally anesthetized. The specialist certification process requires one to two years to complete and we are very proud of our staff for seeking this opportunity to better themselves professionally and to further improve the quality of care VCA Canada WVSEC is able to offer to our clients and their pets.


Questions or Concerns About Anesthesia

If you have any questions about your pet’s sedation, anesthesia or pain management please bring them to our attention. We would be very happy to discuss your concerns and answer your questions.

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