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 used in a veterinary hospital. Patient safety is our top priority. Because of these differences, and the inherent risks associated with general anesthesia and surgery, Western Veterinary Specialist & Emergency Centre has chosen to combine the experience and expertise of a board-certified anesthesiologist with the expertise of our board-certified specialists in surgery, internal medicine, ophthalmology, oncology, and diagnostic imaging/radiology to provide your pet with an additional level of care. By having and anesthesiologist manage and supervise the peri-operative care of our patients, our other specialists can better concentrate on their own respective areas of expertise. 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 the patient’s post-operative care.
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 a potential complication) is to monitor the patient’s vital signs closely throughout its procedure. At WVSEC we use two different but complimentary methods to monitor our anesthetized patients: hands-on monitoring (which only gives subjective information) and monitoring equipment (which gives objective information.) 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, heart rate & rhythm, adequacy of breathing/ventilation and body temperature management. Studies in people have shown that when anesthetics only use hands-on monitoring, they can detect anesthetic-related problems only 50% of the time. In these same studies, the use of blood pressure, oxygenation and ventilation monitors significantly decreased the chances that the anesthetist would miss detecting a minor anesthetic complication that, left untreated, could have lead up to a serious incident such as patient death.
Your veterinarian may refer your pet to WVSEC for performance of complex surgeries, stabilization and treatment of life-threatening illnesses and for further diagnostic testing of patients with significant disease. For the reasons stated above we have invested in a variety of patient monitors to ensure this level of care for every anesthetized patient we treat. This way, together with the individualized preoperative assessment of each patient, we can better manage risk and improve the outcome of each procedure and the well being of your pet.
We are very fortunate to have a dedicated staff of veterinary technicians 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 licensed veterinary technicians, several of our staff are currently studying to become certified as Veterinary Technician Specialists in Anesthesia through the Academy of Veterinary Technician Anesthetists. This process involves training directly under the supervision of Dr. Matt Read, participating in continuing education seminars, submission of detailed case reports, and maintenance of a case log of cases 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 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 the attention of Dr. Matt Read or Dr. Daniel Pang. They would be very happy to discuss your concerns and answer any of your questions.