Primary Care


Local anesthesia

A local anesthetic causes a loss of feeling or sensation in a ‘local’ area – the area where a small surgical or diagnostic procedure is being performed. For instance, a biopsy is a common diagnostic procedure involving the surgical removal of a small portion of tissue, and is typically done with a local anesthetic.


Tranquilization or sedation is used to calm your pet under various conditions. Under sedation, your pet remains awake or may fall into a light sleep, but is easily aroused when stimulated.

You might request sedation for furry family member during travel, thunderstorms, fireworks, or for any situation that causes your pet high levels of stress and anxiety.

Sedation and tranquilization are not without risk, and each animal should be assessed prior to dispensing these medicines.

General anesthesia

A general anesthetic results in a loss of consciousness in the animal and a loss of sensation throughout the body.

Most general anesthetic procedures involve several steps. They start with the administration of a sedative. Following that, an intravenous injection of an anesthetic renders the animal unconscious, and a breathing tube is placed into the animal’s trachea. A gas anesthetic is delivered in combination with oxygen to the animal via the breathing tube to maintain the state of unconsciousness while surgery or other major procedures are completed.

Patient monitoring

During general anesthesia, patients at VCA Mission Animal and Bird Hospital are monitored closely by a trained animal health technician for heart rate, respiratory rate, capillary refill time, and blood pressure.

Monitoring these indicators, especially blood pressure, allows us to intervene quickly if your pet seems to be struggling in any way, and helps us prevent any anesthetic risk to your pet. We chart your pet’s statistics every five minutes from the moment he or she is anesthetized to the time when he or she wakes up.