Pet owners are often very anxious about veterinary procedures that involve anesthesia. Anesthesia is accomplished by administering drugs that depress nerve function. With general anesthesia, the patient is made unconscious for a short period. During this unconscious state, there is muscular relaxation and a complete loss of pain sensation.

Other types of anesthesia include local anesthesia such as numbing a localized area of skin or a tooth, and spinal anesthesia, such as an epidural block, that results in anesthesia of a particular part of the body.

There is always risk of an adverse reaction when we use any anesthetic agent, no matter whether it is for a minor, short-term sedation or for a complete general anesthesia lasting several hours. These reactions may range from mild swelling at the site of injection or a mild decrease in cardiac output, to a full-blown episode of anaphylactic shock or death. However, many experts put the risk of anesthetic death as less than the risk of driving to and from the hospital to have the anesthetic procedure. 

Pre-surgical physical examination, preoperative blood and urine tests and radiographic examination may detect clinical and sub-clinical problems. Certain medical conditions will increase the risk of having an anesthetic complication. These conditions include heart, liver or kidney disease, diabetes mellitus, anemia, dehydration, and certain infectious diseases such as heartworm disease.


Because these procedures are quite invasive, your pets’ pain management protocol will be customized to his or her specific needs depended on their medical history/health and surgical procedure. As always, we work with you to decide what is best for your pet.

  • Wound Soaker Catheter: This is a catheter that is placed at the site of surgery and releases lidocaine to your pet around the clock to minimize their pain. This is primarily used in amputations.
  • Epidurals: A catheter is placed in the spine region that releases pain and anesthetic medication to block the transmission of signals through nerves in or near the spinal cord.
  • Nerve Blocks: An injection is administered to block the nerves from accessing the point of pain; it numbs the nerves and does not let the pain receptors communicate pain to the brain.
    Inject-able and Oral Analgesics: Injections and oral medications are used to treat pain while in the hospital, and also once the pet goes home; sometimes a combination of the two are used to ensure your pet is comfortable.
  • Constant Intravenous Infusions: Your pet may receive constant pain medications through his or her indwelling intravenous catheter; this ensures they have a constant stream of pain medication in their blood stream to keep them comfortable.