The Adventures of Mojito at Village Cat Clinic – What Happens During a General Anaesthic?

October 07, 2013 / Cat's Meow / Leave a comment

Like most kittens Mojito's friend Krinkles next adventure was to undergo an anesthetic and have surgery.  We normally perform neutering and spaying when your cat is 5 – 6 months of age but because of Krinkles eye troubles we decided to do him earlier.  Pediatric anesthetics involve a few extra concerns but it was decided this was a reasonable course of treatment.
The first thing that happens prior to a surgical procedure is your kitten will have his heart checked by a veterinarian to check the rate and rhythm.  A temperature will also be taken.  If there are any other concerns they would be addressed at this time.  A normally cat temperature falls between 38 -39 degree’s Celsius. An elevated temperature can be a sign of an existing infection. 

Krinkles had no problems during this assessment so we moved on to the premedication stage.  Premedication typically includes both a sedative and some type on analgesic. These will be tailored specifically to your cat depending on their health status and the procedure being done.  For extra safety we use sedatives that are reversible wherever possible.

Once the premedication has a chance to take affect your pet will be moved into the surgery room where we will begin administering an inhalant gas called Isoflurane.   Isoflurane is one of the safest inhalant anesthetics that can be used.

When sedated, a cat cannot regulate their body temperature properly so heat loss is a big concern while a cat is under anesthetic.  This is an even bigger concern for procedures performed on pediatric cats like Krinkles. To combat this we use a special circulating hot water blanket that is designed to keep your cat warm but also to make sure that there is no chance of causing burns.  If your cat is going to be under for a lengthy procedure such as a dental or an enucleation like Krinkles we will also place socks on their feet and place a blanket over top of them in order to conserve as much heat as possible.
Depending on the procedure an intravenous catheter will be placed in either the medial saphenous vein which is the vein running down the inside of his back leg or the cephalic vein which runs down the front of the forelimbs.   This catheter will allow us to maintain your cat’s blood pressure but also to provide an immediate access in the case of an emergency.

Next an endotracheal tube will be place in your cat’s trachea to ensure that an open airway is maintained.  
In order to ensure your cats status while under a general anesthetic a fully trained, dedicated surgical technician will monitor your pet’s vital signs.  We utilize electronic monitoring equipment to monitor body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen saturation levels during all anesthetic procedures.

After the procedure is complete, if appropriate, the sedative that was contained within the preanesthetic will be reversed.    This allows your pet to have a smooth and speedy recovery.   For some more painful procedures where we would like your cat to wake up more slowly we may use less reversal agent.    The surgical technician will continue to monitor your pet closely until they are completely awake and resting comfortably.

At the same time the reversal is administered your pet will also receive additional pain medications to enhance comfort.  After most procedures there will be pain medications for you to continue once your pet goes home.  Your cats comfort is of the utmost importance to us.

The time your cat is under the general anesthetic will depend on the procedure being done.  Although Krinkles handled the anesthetic really well there was so much scar tissue in the area he ended out under anesthetic for over 2 hours.  For most surgical procedures your cat will be asleep for less than an hour.

Krinkles has recovered from both the anesthetic and the surgery itself with absolutely no problems. 
Written by Angelina Johnstone RVT

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