How safe is anaesthesia for my older dog?

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People often worry that their dog is too old for an anesthetic. This unfortunately prevents many dogs from getting the treatment they need.

Here are 5 things to know about anaesthesia and older dogs.

1. Physiology and health status are more important than chronological age.

Age is not a contra-indication for anaesthesia. In other words age doesn’t mean that an anaesthetic is more risky but we do need to take certain precautions to ensure anaesthetic safety, as we do in all our patients.

2. We carry out extensive monitoring before, during and after anaesthesia.

This includes a full clinical examination including listening to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope and a full blood test.

The purpose of the blood test is to check that those organs that break down the anaesthetic and remove it from the system (mainly liver and kidneys) are working properly.

We also measure blood proteins and screen for anaemia. On occasion we may also run and ECG or take a chest X-ray.

3. Anesthesia dosing is carefully selected.

There is no “one size fits all” anaesthetic. Anesthesia drugs are chosen and calculated based on body weight, health issues, breed, temperament and even anticipated length of anaesthesia and pain involved with the surgery.
We choose from multiple anaesthetic drugs, depending on the pet’s particular needs.

4. We monitor your dogs anaesthetic constantly.

We check heart rate and rhythm, oxygen saturation, capillary refill time, temperature, blood pressure, respiratory rate, drip rate and many other parameters to ensure the safest aesthetic possible.
Have a look LINK at our anaesthetic monitoring forms to see what we check for every minute during the anaesthesia.

5. Fatal complications from anaesthesia are very rare.

A study by the the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), showed the average death rate under anaesthesia is 0.2%.

So 99.8% of pets, regardless of their age or health status, (i.e. even very old or unwell patients) survive anaesthesia.

In summary, at Stem Cell Vet we always weigh up quality of life, relative benefit of treatment and tiny risk of anaesthetic, against doing nothing.

If you have an older dog that requires anaesthesia, if performed correctly and under the right circumstances, there shouldn’t be any cause for concern.

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To learn more about regenerative medicine, such as stem cell therapy to help your dog become fully mobile, please call us today on 03452 200 236.

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It has been a privilege to see Stewart. He is very thorough in his investigations and listens to everything you tell him...Arnie has one more treatment left later this month and I am so grateful to Stewart and his team as I know Arnie would probably not be with me, if it wasn't for Stewart.

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My cats have had six treatments of stem cells and are doing really well. The staff at Stem Cell Vet were amazing in every way. I would recommend the treatment and all the staff involved in this process.

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