GENERAL ANESTHESIA IN SENIOR DOGS

A dog had a bad reaction to the anaesthesia after he went for a procedure at another vet.  The client is reluctant to have this situation repeat itself with her dog, and asked Dr Larry for advice.  Here Dr Larry Kraitzick discusses the question his client posed to him.

In some cases we can use sedation and local anaesthesia instead of general anaesthesia.

  • Local anaesthesia involves numbing a specific part of the body to prevent any feeling of pain during surgical procedures. An anaesthetic drug - which has numbing effects - is applied to a certain part of the patient's body.
  • General anaesthetics are medications used to cause a loss of consciousness so the patient is unaware of surgery. Despite there being a number of theories about how general anaesthetics work, the precise mechanisms remain unknown. However, it is known that all anaesthetics interrupt the passage of signals along the nerves.

PET OWNER -

Hi there Dr Larry I need some advice regarding my dog, Nougat. A few years ago, I opted to take her for an elective procedure where the vet cleaned her teeth. She had a bad reaction to the anaesthesia and was in the hospital for a day and a half. The following two days she refused to be alone and whimpered like a puppy and was visibly nauseous and sick. I thought my baby was going to die. (Keep in mind, this dog is tough as nails)

Now, I'm battling with the idea of having her spayed, for fear of her reaction to the anaesthesia. I don't plan on her ever having puppies, and she doesn't come in contact with non- neutered males. But I've read that leaving her unspayed increases her chances to develop cancer. To spay, or not to spay

DR LARRY -

Afternoon Anne' .I need more info. What kind dog is Nougat and how old is she? I also need to know what drugs were used in her anaesthesia.

I can then use this information to give you some direction.

PET OWNER -

She's a 7 year old Boston terrier. I unfortunately have no clue what anaesthesia they used. I didn't know there is more than one type.

DR LARRY -

First of all, you will need to find out what drugs were used for premedication, anaesthesia and pain control for Nougat's dental procedure.  In this way we can try to identify the culprit.

As I don't know these facts, I will have to speak in general terms:

Surgical procedures involve risk. In the hands of a competent veterinarian, however, most senior dogs (generally, dogs are considered senior at approximately seven years of age) can be safely spayed or neutered. Age alone, without an overall assessment of the senior dog's health, should not be used to rule out the surgery.

Before your senior dog is spayed or neutered, however, your vet should order a complete blood panel. Ask about the choice of gas anaesthesia for your older dog. The best type of anaesthesia is with the new gas anaesthetic - Servoflurane. As your dog is a Boston terrier, she will have to wake up under close supervision once the endotracheal tube is removed.

Ask about the availability of anaesthetic monitoring as well as post-operative care should your dog require it.

Unfortunately, because I have no information about the anaesthesia and because I have neither examined Nougat nor do I have any laboratory data, I cannot give you direct advice. If, however you are considering spaying her, I hope this gives you a plan of action for making the final decision.

Dr Larry.

About Dr Larry Kraitzick B.V.Sc
Bruma Lake Veterinary Clinic (Find Dr Larry on Facebook)

Dr Larry KraitzickQualified in 1990 with Bachelor of Veterinary of Science from Onderstepoort Veterinary Faculty.
In 1991 he ran a welfare clinic in Alexander Township. He went to the United Kingdom to register as a Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in 1992 and began working at Yeoville Veterinary Clinic, which he took ownership of in 1993. Whilst running Yeoville Veterinary Clinic Dr Kraitzick  collaborated with Dr Leo Reinecke (Human Radiotherapy Specialist)  in treating selected pet cancer Patients with Chemotherapy.
He started Bruma Lake Vet Clinic in Johannesburg in 2002.  He travelled to the USA in 2013 to learn about the value of client communication and education using Media  with the emphasis on Electronic and Social Media. In October 2014 he started The Old Folk Pet Support Group and was part of a group who intervened to prevent senior residents of Tweedy Park (a government housing project on the East Rand) from being forced to get rid their pets.
Dr Kraitzick is married with two sons, three cats and a dog.


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