Anesthesia During Pet Dental Care

If you’re nervous about anesthesia for your cat or dog – and most people are, especially those with older pets – you should know that it’s actually quite safe when performed according to current standards. The simplest definition of anesthesia is putting an animal into an unconscious state so the pet will be immobile and pain free during a procedure.

At the Animal Hospital of Fairfield, we provide dental cleanings with the use of general anesthesia, a key aspect of proper oral diagnosis and treatment. Because your pet is anesthetized, we are efficiently able to remove the tartar from the crown of the tooth, as well as under the gum-line. This is where tartar accumulates without notice and results in gum disease. We are also able to assess the severity of gum disease, take digital intraoral radiographs (x-rays), and polish. Polishing each tooth is important, as it slows the accumulation of plaque.

Without anesthesia, we cannot effectively protect your pet from inhaling pieces of tartar removed from the teeth, or water from the ultrasonic scaler. We maintain our patients on inhalant anesthesia with an endotracheal tube in place in order to breathe the gas and protect the airway.

For most healthy pets, anesthesia does not have a negative impact. To ensure our patients’ safety, we obtain a detailed medical history and review recent blood work. We perform a thorough physical exam before anesthesia. Our patients receive a customized pre-medication, are placed on intravenous fluids, and maintained on oxygen and the lowest dose required of inhaled gas anesthetic.

All patients are closely monitored for the duration of the procedure, which includes heart rate, respiratory rate, temperature, blood pressure, CO2, and oxygen saturation. We tailor each anesthetic protocol toward individual patient needs.

Each pet can have a different type of recovery following an anesthetic procedure. Your pet is closely monitored after anesthesia, and precautions are taken to make sure they have a smooth and safe recovery. Some patients wake up very quickly, while others may take a little more time. All patients are fully awake and walking before we send them home.