Laurie Anne Walden, DVM
Dogs and cats need regular dental care, including thorough oral exams and dental cleanings. These procedures are best done under general anesthesia, but some pets don’t receive the dental care they need because their owners are worried about the safety of anesthesia. Most animals handle anesthesia well, though, and the risk is greatly reduced with preanesthetic testing, safe anesthetic drugs, and monitoring during the procedure.
Reasons for Dental Anesthesia
General anesthesia during a dental procedure allows for better medical care, reduces an animal’s stress and pain, and makes the procedure safer for everyone.
Before an animal undergoes anesthesia, the benefits of the procedure are weighed against the possible risks. Although general anesthesia is safe overall, its risks range from minor drug effects that can be anticipated and managed to potentially fatal complications, which are rare.
Animals receive a thorough physical exam before anesthesia and might also have preanesthetic laboratory tests. Preanesthetic tests are especially important for senior animals—the age group most often having dental procedures—because liver, kidney, and heart function all affect anesthesia risk.
During the procedure, vital signs like heart rate, respiratory rate, blood oxygen saturation, and blood pressure are monitored. The patient’s level of anesthesia is also monitored and can be adjusted as needed.
If your pet will be having anesthesia, tell the veterinarian all of the medications and supplements your pet is getting at home. Your veterinarian will also need to know if your pet has ever had problems with anesthesia in the past. If your pet has been to more than one clinic, be sure the anesthetizing veterinarian has your pet’s complete medical records and knows of any history of breathing trouble, heart conditions, seizures, or other medical problems.
Problems With Anesthesia-Free Dental Scaling
Some places offer dental scaling without anesthesia, but this procedure isn’t in an animal’s best interest.
Photo by mahyar mirghasemi on Unsplash
Laurie Anne Walden, DVM
The contents of this blog are for information only and should not substitute for advice from a veterinarian who has examined the animal. All blog content is copyrighted by Mallard Creek Animal Hospital and may not be copied, reproduced, transmitted, or distributed without permission.