Anesthesia is always a concern when it comes to medical procedures. When you love pets as much as we do, you don’t want to take any chances whatsoever. Our vision on anesthesia has been explained so eloquently by Dr. Bob Stein, the Founder of the Veterinary Anesthesia & Analgesia Support Group. Thank you, Dr Bob!
The transition to higher quality anesthetic management requires a commitment to a new way of looking at our patients. It is not a matter of collecting a broader inventory of agents or adding monitoring equipment. First, and foremost, we must begin to look at each patient as a distinct individual. Is the patient young or old, calm or excitable, small or large, healthy or diseased. By thinking of our patients as individuals, we can adjust a given protocol to achieve the best possible balance of safety, comfort, and cost effectiveness. It should not be difficult to establish a familiarity with several protocols that provide flexibility when approaching routine healthy patients and high-risk protocols that allow for a confident approach to the difficult patient. The declining cost of anesthetic monitoring equipment and many of the better anesthetic agents has clearly favored the advancement of veterinary anesthesia. Through the use of the advances at hand, we can provide a much more valuable service to our clients and, what should be, a much more significant profit center in our business. We need to bury the concept that anesthesia is simple mathematics, giving so many mg per kg, with the only question being the weight of the animal. This website can provide a framework for viewing anesthetic management as the critical cornerstone of quality veterinary medicine that it should be. Remembering that there are no safe anesthetics, just safe anesthetists, we hope this website can help us all to become safer anesthetists.
In many ways, we should look at this reference as we would a surgical reference. It may contain information about techniques that would not be appropriate for all veterinarians without receiving additional training. Epidural injections might be an example of an attractive procedure that would be better learned in a supervised setting. However, unlike an advanced surgical technique, we can maintain familiarity with a variety of advanced, high risk anesthetic techniques by periodically utilizing them on low risk patients. By doing so, we are much more comfortable when applying such protocols during a real crisis situation.
The changes we have made at our practices have been very rewarding for the entire staff. The moderation of patient stress, anxiety, and pain has led to a generation of patients that not only have had maximal safety but they have also been handled much more humanely. These patients are much more enthusiastic about subsequent visits to our buildings because they were handled in a fashion that was so much more patient friendly than past practice’s approach to veterinary anesthesia. There are no more vocal supporters than the technicians who have transferred to our practices and realized how much more meaningful and rewarding veterinary anesthesia can be.
Dr. Bob Stein — Founder of the Veterinary Anesthesia & Analgesia Support Group