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Anesthesia and your pet.

Why testing is necessary.

What is pre-anesthetic blood testing?

It is a blood panel at least two days in advance of any surgical procedure, which can detect abnormalities in organ function. Depending on the test completed, it may list the function of the liver, kidneys, muscles, pancreas, thyroid, and heart. It may also detect any infection or anemia. All of which can otherwise appear healthy on physical exam.

What if there's an abnormality with the blood results?

If your pet's blood results come back with an abnormality, the doctor may decide to hold off surgery and treat the underlying organ problem. If the doctor decides it is appropriate to proceed with surgery, she/he may choose anesthetic drugs which are different from the "normal" anesthetic protocol which better suit your pet's individual needs. Our goal is to have a safe and healthy anesthetic procedure and speedy recovery.

Is it a waste of money if no significant findings were found on your pet's blood results?

Absolutely not, as this is not only good news for your pet, but it also provides us with a baseline that your veterinarian can use later down the road, in the event of an illness that shows blood abnormalities.

Blood work is strongly recommended before any anesthetic procedure, particularly if your pet is over the age of 7 years old.

What can these tests show?

With biochemistry tests:

  • In the liver, it can detect liver disease, Cushing's syndrome, or abnormalities resulting from long-term medications.
  • In the thyroid, it can detect hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.
  • In the kidneys, it can detect kidney disease of failure, or abnormalities resulting from long-term medications.
  • In the pancreas, it can detect pancreatitis, diabetes mellitus, or abnormalities resulting from long-term medications. On blood smears it can detect infection, leukemia, or anemia.

We may ask you to provide us with a sample of urine. Why is this necessary?

The urine contains many by-products from many organs, such as kidneys, liver, and pancreas. Abnormal levels of these by-products can indicate diabetes, liver, or urinary tract disease.

We may want to do a ECG (Electrocardiogram). Why is this necessary?

It detects heart rate and electrical rhythm. Certain abnormal rhythms and heart rates can be harmful to animals undergoing anesthesia.

We may want to do radiographs. Why is this necessary?

These can detect any heart size and shape abnormalities, lung abnormalities, or other organ abnormalities on the liver, kidneys, spleen, stomach, intestines, bladder, and pancreas.

In summary, all tests can significantly reduce medical risks and ensure your pet's health and safety. Your pet can not tell us in words, when they're not feeling well, so we can usually catch problems before they significantly worsen, as animals are very good at hiding their symptoms of a disease or ailment.