Whether your cat is scheduled for a dental procedure or a routine neuter procedure, we understand your concerns about your feline friend undergoing anesthesia. Because you cannot hold your cat’s paw as they undergo anesthesia and while they recover, our Just Cats Clinic team wants to ease your mind by sharing five ways we ensure your cat’s safety while they are anesthetized.

#1: We perform comprehensive preanesthetic testing on your cat

Before any feline patient undergoes anesthesia or surgery, we thoroughly evaluate their health, performing a comprehensive physical exam to determine their baseline vital signs. We monitor their heart’s rate and rhythm, and check their lungs for crackles, wheezes, or other abnormalities. In addition, because anesthesia decreases body temperature, we ensure your cat has no fever, and we establish their normal body temperature.

We also perform preanesthetic blood work, which varies depending on your cat’s age, current health status, and diagnosed chronic disease. Preanesthetic blood work consists of a complete blood count (CBC) and blood chemistry profile that indicate whether your cat is anemic, or has an infection or inflammation, clotting issues, an abnormal blood sugar level, or organ dysfunction. It also includes a proBNP test to screen for heart damage as well as feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus testing to ensure we don’t spread viral diseases to other cats during surgery. Additional testing indicates whether your cat has an electrolyte imbalance and low or high thyroid hormone levels.

#2: We create a customized anesthetic protocol for your cat

We formulate a personalized anesthetic protocol based on your cat’s preanesthetic testing. For example, if your cat has kidney disease, we minimize inhalant anesthetic use, focusing instead on injectable and local anesthetics. Cats can be anesthesia sensitive, so we avoid using a blanket anesthetic protocol and customize each cat’s anesthetic agents, which reduces your cat’s potential anesthesia risk, keeping them as safe as possible.

#3: We place an intravenous catheter in your cat

An intravenous (IV) catheter is an essential tool for any pet undergoing anesthesia. An IV catheter has many uses,  including:

  • Port A port through which we administer IV anesthetic agents 
  • Quicker medication uptake Quicker medication administration and uptake of pain medication, antibiotics, and other necessary medications
  • Fluids Ability to administer IV fluids before, during, and after the procedure to bolster blood pressure and help the body flush out the anesthetic agents
  • Venous access Instant venous access in case of an emergency (e.g., drop in heart rate or blood pressure, excessive bleeding)

While our team is talented at finding veins in tiny kittens and dehydrated, geriatric cats, using an IV catheter is an essential part of keeping your feline friend safe while under anesthesia.

#4: We monitor your cat with state-of-the-art equipment

State-of-the-art monitoring equipment, similar to that used in human hospitals, helps our team keep a close eye on your anesthetized cat’s vital signs. Using the values we obtained during your pet’s preanesthetic exam, we compare their vital signs during their procedure to determine how well your cat is tolerating anesthesia and surgery. 

Our monitoring equipment performs many tasks. The equipment collects the following important data:

  • Heart rate and rhythm, via an EKG
  • Respiratory rate
  • Oxygen saturation level
  • Blood pressure
  • Temperature

Monitoring equipment immediately alerts us if your pet is experiencing a problem, but our team also remains vigilant by using our eyes, ears, and hands.

#5: Our veterinary team is highly trained and educated

Anesthesiology, anatomy, and physiology are complicated, and our highly educated and trained team understands how anesthetic agents and surgical procedures affect your cat. We are committed to lifelong education to ensure we are up to date on the latest anesthesia knowledge. 

We learn about every anesthesia drug and its effects, so we are prepared to act quickly if your cat experiences an adverse reaction. Our team’s collective brain knows nerve stimulation, anatomical structures, chemical receptors, and balanced anesthetic protocols, and we rely on each other’s experience and input when facing a challenging case. We count on each other to save your cat if they experience a—highly unlikely—anesthesia emergency. Our team is also regularly trained in CPR, so we are always ready to respond should a worst case scenario develop.

Our team understands your concerns when you learn your cat requires anesthesia and surgery, and we are here to calm your fears. Feel free to contact our Just Cats Clinic team to discuss your concerns and questions.