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Our doctors regard anesthesia and surgery as important events for each pet and their owners. Our hospital protocols for patients undergoing general anesthesia include a full physical examination, pre-anesthetic blood testing, intravenous catheter placement with iv fluid support, and sophisticated monitoring of blood pressure, core body temperature, respiratory and cardiac function. Anesthetic agents selected by our doctors are based on individual patient requirements and include the use of multi-modal pre-and-post operative pain management. Surgeries are performed in our modern surgical suite under sterile conditions.
Examples of some of the types of surgical procedures our facility performs include:
Soft Tissue / Orthopedic Procedures
Dr. Colin McHugh also performs an assortment of other soft tissue and orthopedic procedures on site. Those include procedures such as; Mass Biopsy / Mass excisions, Bladder / Urethral Stone surgery (Cystotomy), Perineal Urethrostomy, Third Eyelid surgery (Cherry Eye), Entropion / Ectropion Eyelid Surgery, Anal Sacculectomy, Eye Enucleation, Toe, Limb and Tail Amputations, Medial Patellar Luxation surgery. Generally these more complex procedures are reserved for our established clients and patients.
Specialty Referral Care
There are also specific surgical issues which exceed the ability of our hospital to treat in a medically appropriate manner consistent with our practice mission and philosophies - such as complex orthopedic surgeries and complicated bone fractures. In these instances clients interested in advanced care options will be offered a referral to the Board Certified Veterinary Surgical Specialists at one of the three organizations for The Veterinary Specialty Hospital of The Carolinas (VSH) in North Raleigh / Durham / Cary, Triangle Veterinary Referral Hospital in Durham or North Carolina State Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Raleigh.
Comparisons of Estimates for Surgical Procedures
Please take a moment to review the information included below it just may end up saving you money, sparing you frustration and avoiding unnecessary discomfort for your pet:
All anesthetic procedure patients receive a physical examination to evaluate them prior to their procedure. We assess their vital signs such as body temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate, as well as many other factors which can influence our decisions on which types of pain relief, sedation and anesthetics we choose - or, in some instances, whether to postpone the procedure.
Pre-Anesthetic Blood Testing
Prior to the use of anesthetics, your pet will have a blood sample drawn and processed by our in-house laboratory equipment. Because many anesthetic agents are metabolized and eliminated via the internal organs it is important to assess any changes from normal function which can affect how patients respond to anesthetics. These tests can alert us to organ disease, such as kidney or liver abnormalities, which are not always obvious as part of our pre-surgical physical exam. When abnormal test values are found, we may either modify our anesthetic protocols, by changing anesthetic drug choices, doses or fluid therapy, to address underlying issues or we may postpone procedures until we are better able to understand the root cause of the problem.
Intravenous Catheter and Fluid Support
As part of our standard anesthetic protocol, an intravenous catheter (IV) will be placed in a vein in your pet's leg. This catheter allows us to maintain a route of instant access to your pet's cardiovascular system for delivery of important drugs in the event an unexpected problem develops during anesthesia. In addition, your pet will receive IV fluids delivered through this catheter during and after surgery. The administration of IV fluids assists in maintaining stable blood pressure and proper blood flow to their internal organs.
Anesthetic Administration and Monitoring
Carolina Animal Hospital is serious about anesthesia. At our hospital only individuals who have completed formal educational training programs in veterinary technology and have passed stringent licensing examinations given by the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Board are employed as "Technicians".
Only a Veterinarian or a Registered Veterinary Technician, under the supervision of a Veterinarian, will ever administer anesthetics to our patients.
While under anesthesia our patients are observed by our trained staff and by sophisticated equipment which monitors blood pressure (NIBP), heart rhythm (ECG), core body temperature and oxygen levels (SPO2) in the blood stream.
Pain Management Protocol
We are also serious about pain control in our patients. Our most basic surgical and dental procedures call for the use of two forms of pain management drugs. We administer an injectable narcotic medication prior to actual anesthesia. This 'pre-med' serves two important purposes; it creates a 'warm and fuzzy' sedation which allows us to use significant less injectable anesthetic drugs to produce the desired anesthetic effect, and it helps to preempt pain responses before they even begin - which means less discomfort should be produced overall. The narcotic injection lasts for approximately six to eight hours. We also administer a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drug which helps address mild to moderate discomfort, similar to high dose over the counter pain medications for humans. This drug begins to take effect shortly after administration and generally hits peak effective levels before the narcotic injection wears off. Almost all of our surgical and anesthetic patient receive additional NSAID medications for home use for several days after the procedure. We also dispense additional narcotic pain relief medications when we anticipate the level of discomfort may require more than lower level pain relief.
Amber McHugh, DVM
Colin McHugh, DVM