When your beloved pet is undergoing anesthesia, waiting by your phone for an update can be nerve-wracking. Your Cranberry Holistic Pet Care team understands how pet owners get extremely nervous about putting their pets under anesthesia, which is why we take every precaution to ensure your pet’s safety before, during, and after their procedure. Preanesthetic testing may seem an unnecessary step, especially if your pet appears healthy, but testing is critical for detecting underlying disease that can complicate anesthesia. Pets are masters at compensating for a hidden illness, and they may show no outward signs of health problems. So, to ensure your furry pal is as safe as possible while under anesthesia, our team recommends preanesthetic testing, namely blood work and electrocardiogram (EKG) testing. Let’s take a closer look at the importance of each test. 

Why does my pet need preanesthetic blood work?

Although a thorough physical exam is an essential part of detecting illness in your pet, our team goes deeper with preanesthetic blood work that generally involves two components—a complete blood count (CBC) and a chemistry panel—to search for serious problems that can complicate anesthesia. 

  • Complete blood count — A CBC quantifies the number of red and white blood cells, and platelets in your pet, and also identifies changes in red blood cell size and the types of white blood cells present. This data allows us to determine if your pet is anemic, dehydrated, has an infection, or has clotting issues, which can all pose a problem during anesthesia and surgery. 
  • Chemistry profile — A preanesthetic chemistry profile imparts a great deal of information about your pet’s organ function by measuring a variety of chemicals and enzymes, which are proteins involved in the body’s chemical reactions. A chemistry panel shows the function level of the kidneys, liver, and pancreas by evaluating certain enzyme levels, and we can learn whether any underlying renal or liver disease needs addressing prior to anesthesia. A chemistry profile also shows your pet’s blood sugar level and the quantities of important electrolytes, such as calcium, sodium, and potassium, in the blood. Since the kidneys and liver handle the metabolism of anesthetic medications, ensuring their proper function is crucial. If any enzyme levels on the chemistry profile are abnormal, we will adjust our anesthetic protocol accordingly to make the procedure as safe as possible for your pet. 

By performing preanesthetic blood work prior to your pet’s procedure, we can detect underlying disease that will guide the formulation of our anesthetic protocol, or we may  postpone your pet’s procedure until their condition is better managed. Pets with known health issues may require additional preanesthetic testing.

Why does my pet need an electrocardiogram?

An EKG in pets is a noninvasive procedure that detects cardiac activity. Small, painless electrodes are attached to specific points on your pet’s limbs and the chest to detect electrical signals sent from the heart with each heartbeat. The EKG machine records these signals as a tracing on a strip of paper, from which we can determine if your pet’s heart is beating properly, or they have an arrhythmia, heart block, or rate abnormality. The EKG can help us identify drug effects on the heart, so is especially important for preanesthetic testing. By performing an EKG on your pet prior to anesthesia, we can evaluate their normal cardiac function, and then monitor effects of the anesthetic drugs on their heart rate and rhythm. Typically, we monitor your pet’s EKG throughout surgery to ensure their heart is functioning normally, and they are not experiencing any adverse effects to anesthesia or the procedure. 

By performing preanesthetic blood work and EKG testing for your pet, we are doing everything possible to keep your furry pal as safe as possible during an anesthetic procedure. Based on your pet’s results, we may recommend additional testing or delaying the procedure, but rest assured that each recommendation is focused on your pet’s continued health. 

Do you have more questions about how our Cranberry Holistic Pet Care team keeps your beloved pet safe while under anesthesia? Give us a call to discuss your concerns.