Post by:

Kelly Serfas, a Certified Veterinary Technician in Bethlehem, PA, contributed to this article.

Anesthesia can be scary. In addition to understanding the particulars of anesthesia, make sure you understand the real risks for your particular pet by asking following questions of your vet, general practitioner or specialist. Yes, it will take a little bit of time. It may even sound annoying or picky at times… But it is well worth it to ensure the well being of your beloved pet.

1. What are the risks of anesthesia for my pet?

Some pets are ideal candidates for anesthesia, like a healthy 6 month old kitten who needs to be neutered.  Others can present significant risks because of a variety of health conditions: heart murmur, liver disease, infection etc. If your pet has a flat face (brachycephalic breeds such as a Himalayan cat or a Bulldog), there is an increased risk of complications before, during and after anesthesia. Therefore, special precautions should be taken at every step – which you should discuss with your vet. Chubby patients are at a higher risk for anesthesia because they don’t breathe well.

2. Will my pet have an IV catheter and IV fluids?

The duration and invasiveness of the procedure will usually determine if your vet will place an IV catheter and give IV fluids. For minor procedures (radiographs, bandage placement, nail trim), it may not be necessary. For others (most surgeries, dental procedures), it is very beneficial to place an IV catheter and give IV fluids. The catheter helps administering anesthesia drugs and pain medications and the IV fluids help maintain proper organ function, starting with the kidneys.

3. Who will monitor my pet?

In a perfect world, all patients under anesthesia would be monitored by a veterinary nurse or technician who has been specifically trained to perform and adjust anesthesia. Even better, this person should ideally stay with your pet during and after anesthesia at all times.

4. How will my pet be monitored?

These days, pets can be monitored almost as well as people. We can track heart beats, EKG, blood pressure, oxygen levels, CO2 levels, temperature, respiration rates and more. The more we know about what’s going on inside a patient, the safer the anesthesia is. Now different clinics offer different levels of monitoring. Most clinics these days can monitor oxygen levels.  However, few can track CO2, even though it’s a very important piece of information. An experienced technician will also rely on his or her senses, including listening, touching, and observing the patient..

5. Who will recover my pet?

Waking up from anesthesia is half the battle. More pets actually get in trouble after anesthesia than during anesthesia. Therefore, it is very important to continue monitoring patients very closely after they wake up.

6. What is done to make sure my pet is safe to go under anesthesia?

Several things can be done to decrease the risks of anesthesia. Most vets will recommend blood work to make sure your pet is healthy. Even if we find liver or kidney disease, we can perform safe anesthesia. We might, however, need to tweak the anesthesia protocol to decrease the dose of certain drugs or eliminate them altogether. Depending on your particular pet’s health, we may also recommend an EKG, blood pressure testing, chest X-rays or an ultrasound.

7. What happens during anesthesia?

Typically, a tranquilizer is given first. This will make your pet drowsy.  We then often place an IV catheter. About 20 to 30 minutes later, anesthesia drugs are given IV. A plastic tube is then placed in the wind pipe or trachea. This allows delivery of 98% pure oxygen and 2% anesthesia gas on average. Anesthesia is then maintained with gas. At the end of anesthesia, the gas is turned off and your pet is kept on 100% oxygen. When your pet starts to wake up, the tube is pulled out of the trachea and normal breathing starts again.

8. How long will my pet take to recover?

This depends on many factors, including health status, involvement of the procedure, duration of anesthesia, drugs given, breed, age and body temperature. In other words, you would expect a healthy, crazy, happy 6 month old lab to recover very quickly from a spay. You also would expect a 14 year old diabetic, hypothyroid toy poodle to take longer to recover from a two hour surgery.

9. Should I leave a blanket or piece of clothing with my scent on it?

You may leave a blanket or piece of clothing at most hospitals… as long as you understand that they may get lost. Why? Not because we’re careless, but because if your pet soils your item, it will be washed and dried.

Many hospitals have staggering amounts of laundry to go through every day because their caring staff always makes sure pets have clean blankets and towels at all times. In other words, your blanket may be buried (not quite lost) in a mountain of laundry. If you are really emotionally attached to a specific blanket or towel, please keep it at home. We will provide whatever your pet needs.

10. Why do I need to sign an anesthesia/surgery consent form?

When you sign the anesthesia and surgery consent form, you acknowledge that you understand the diagnosis, the possible risks and the likely outcome of the procedure you have discussed with your vet. The consent form is both a medical and legal document.  Therefore, it is important that you truly understand what will and might happen during your pet’s care.

Clearly, there are always risks with anesthesia, no matter how careful we are. Make sure you understand those risks. An honest, open discussion should reassure you that your pet in in great hands and that everything will be done to return your pet home at soon as possible.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

All About Service and Guide Dogs, Veterinarians in Beaverton Oregon

In Celebration of National Service/Guide Dog Month, we’re sharing this great article from Jenna Stregowski, RVT at The Spruce Pet.

You have probably heard the terms service dog and assistance dog before, but do you know what these terms truly mean? Generally speaking, a service dog or assistance dog is a working dog specially trained to help a person or group of people with a disability or specific needs. However, there is a bit more to the definition of a service dog, especially in the eyes of the law. A service dog is a type of working dog but is very different from other working dogs like police dogs, cadaver dogs, and search-and-rescue dogs.

Read more

By Maggie Clancy @

From an office desk, working from home can seem pretty glamorous. You mostly get to set your own hours, wake up whenever you want, and wear your pajamas to work.

However, those of us who work from home know that our work days aren’t as fancy free and easy as office dwellers might imagine. Throw a cat into the mix, and you have even more to deal with. Read more


From Preventative Vet

Many people are finding themselves working from home and dogs everywhere are reveling in having their humans around all the time.

But working with your pets around can be tough — just try being on a conference call with a barking dog in the background, or a puppy who wants your constant attention and keeps crawling onto your keyboard.

It can be hard to stay on-task and feel like you’re getting work done from your home office. While including your pet in your work video chats is often appreciated by your coworkers, when you need to be productive and stay distraction-free, we’ve got you covered.

Below are our favorite ways to keep our dogs occupied, as well as how to set yourself up for success while working from home with your pet.

Read more

Cat heat wave safety. Animal Hospital in Beaverton Oregon. Laurelwood Animal Hopital.


Below are some useful tips for keeping your cat cool during a summer heatwave.

On the rare occasion we experience a prolonged period of high temperatures, cats are often quite comfortable and will even seek out ‘hot spots’ on window sills or in gardens to laze in the sun. Read more



From the Doggington Post

Did you know dogs aren’t actually color blind? How about that the Newfoundland has webbed feet to help it swim? Or, that a third of all pet owners have admitted to speaking to their dog over the answering machine when they weren’t at home? Read these and other weird facts about dogs… Read more

From CatsOnCatnip

For everything that we love and adore about cats, there are equally confusing, head-scratching things about them as well. We know they are creative when bathing themselves, cough up hairballs, purr for a variety of reasons, and that they are spunky, personality-driven creatures but there are so many things many of us often overlook.

Do cats sweat? Does purring do anything positive for them (rather than just enhancing our sense of self-satisfaction for making our kitties purr!?) Do cats have anything in common with inanimate objects?

The answers to these questions will surely surprise you. Especially that last one in purr-ticular.

Read more

From the Oregon Zoo

Mom and new arrival are doing well in private maternity den, according to keepers
What’s cuter than a red panda? How about a baby red panda? Fluffy 4-year-old Mei Mei has given birth to a cub at the Oregon Zoo.

The new arrival entered the world June 18 and weighs about half a pound. Mom and baby are doing well in their behind-the-scenes maternity den, according to zoo animal-care staff. Read more

From the ASPCA

On Tuesday, July 21, the ASPCA will be celebrating national No Pet Store Puppies Day. This is a great chance to educate your friends and family about what happens in puppy mills and about the benefits of  adopting from a shelter or rescue group instead! Read more

how to help lost pets

Article sourced from PetPlace

One of the scariest experiences you can have as a pet parent is to lose your animal. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or ASPCA, looked into how many pets get lost every year. The organization found that 15 percent of pet guardians had lost a dog or cat in the previous five years. While about 93 percent of dogs that had gone astray were found, only 75 percent of missing cats made it back to their families. Read more