Have you ever wondered how a veterinarian does surgery on a gerbil? What about surgery on a horse? Clearly, the vast and varying sizes of pets means that a veterinarian has to be able to anesthetize the animals to keep them quiet and in less pain for the surgeries. So, how does that work? It looks something like this.
The Cones of Silence
From the smallest pet to the largest one, veterinarians use anesthesia cones as part of their veterinary anesthesia systems. The very tiniest cone will fit over a guinea pig's nose, while the largest fits over a Great Dane's nose. The animals are given a light sedative first, which helps them calm down so that the vet techs and vet assistants can place the cones over the animals' noses. The vets turn on the anesthesia via tanks of gas at the head of the operating table. The animals' vitals are then monitored by machines during the course of the surgery.
Anesthesia for Larger Pets
If the procedure is a simple one, such as gelding a horse, anesthesia is given via a shot. When the horse goes down, a vet will remove the testicles through a small incision on each side of the horse's scrotum. If necessary, or if the vet prefers, one or two quick stitches on each side puts everything back to normal. The horse will wake from that in about thirty minutes, so the vet has to be quick. However, gelding a male horse does not require the full thirty minutes unless the horse has one testicle deep inside the belly, a condition known as cryptochordism.
For more complicated procedures, horses and several other large animals that are kept as pets may be brought into the animal hospital for treatment. Here, there are several lifts that assist the vets with placing the animal on the operating table. Before the animals are lifted, but after the lift belt has been placed around the animal's belly, the animal is given a sedative. When the animal becomes tipsy, the lift belt keeps the animal on its feet until it can be hoisted into the air and moved to the largest operating table.
On the table, very large plastic cylinders connected to the anesthesia tanks are placed over the animal's nose and mouth. Unlike the cones, which may be removed during surgery at any time, the cylinders stay put. The purpose for this is that the larger the animal, the quicker it can recover from anesthesia, and that does not bode well if the surgery is not yet complete. So the larger pets receive intermittent doses of anesthesia during the surgery to keep them sedated.
Different Anesthesia Tanks
In addition to the different nose and mouth attachments for different animals, a vet has to use different types of anesthesia. Two or three different types of anesthesia, in large tanks, are connected to the hoses and facial masks so that the vet can administer the correct anesthesia to the correct type of animal without having to switch out tanks when doing surgeries on different animals. Just as you would not anesthetize a human with general anesthesia meant only for dogs and cats, so you cannot anesthetize all pets with just one type of anesthesia.
Want to Know More? Ask Your Vet
Veterinarians are more than comfortable with showing you the operating room if you ask. They can show you the different veterinary anesthesia systems they will use to sedate and/or anesthetize your pet for surgery, which alleviates many of your concerns. If you want, you may also ask for a private, behind-the-scenes tour of the clinic or hospital, so that you can feel comfortable in the knowledge that your pet will be well-treated.Share
27 November 2017
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