Bellevue Veterinary Hospital, Parksville

(250) 248-2031


Patient Care During General Anesthesia

Owner and dog 2
  • Each patient in our care for a general anesthesia will be sedated first.  This is a simple injection, similar to getting a vaccination. Most pets do not react to this small needle.
  • Once they are sedated (just peaceful and calm), we will place an IV catheter (usually in a front or back leg) and tape that into place.
    Then a slow IV drip maintains this IV port for easy delivery of IV medications and fluids when needed.
  • Patients are placed on heated water beds during the procedure (and later also in recovery) to keep them warm.  
  • "Anesthetic induction" refers to the next step, the administration of an IV drug that puts them into an unconscious state.
  • When the patient is unconscious, an endotracheal tube is placed into the trachea (the windpipe)
  • Anesthetic gas and oxygen is delivered from the anesthetic machine into the patient through the endotracheal tube. The amount of anesthetic gas is adjusted moment by moment, depending on the patient's anesthetic depth and various parameters being monitored.
  • Several monitoring tools are used to assess the patient during the full length of the procedure.
These include:
  •   capnography = measuring carbon dioxide levels to help assess respiration (breathing)
  •   blood pressure monitoring
  •   pulse oximetry = indirect monitor for oxygen levels in the bloodstream 
  •   esophageal thermometer readings = for monitoring body temperature
  •   ECG, if needed, will monitor the heart muscle's conductivity and rhythm.  
  •   Also, of course, basic monitoring of the patient’s anesthetic depth and vital signs are charted throughout.

Local anesthetics and/or pain medications are administered to decrease the amount of anesthesia required, and these also help to produce a more comfortable recovery.

We are very focused on the quality of care your pet receives during anesthesia, recovery, and all their procedures and interactions in our hospital.    


Pre-operative Considerations for Routine Surgeries

 Pre-op Considerations for Routine Surgeries:

Routine (or "elective") surgeries are those procedures that are not urgent. There's no rush to have them done immediately.  (The word "routine" doesn't mean we don't take them seriously.  It just refers to the lack of urgency in timing.)  Examples are spaying & neutering, as well as most dental procedures. Some lump removals are in this category too. So, there’s time for you and your vet to think ahead, and consider some pre-operative options.                                               

bellevue frame pre op blog

Here are some questions you may be asked at the time of your pet’s admission to hospital for a surgical procedure:

1. Would you like to have pre-anesthetic blood work performed?

This is our way of having a deeper glimpse into the health of your pet, beyond the physical exam.  The blood tests will reveal the numbers and characteristics of red and white blood cells, plus platelets (the blood clotting cells).  Also the chemistry portion of the panel demonstrates some hints into kidney & liver health, as well as blood sugar, proteins, and electrolytes.  These indices can guide our decision to go ahead with the anesthesia or not, and/or could alter which medications we'll choose for your pet. Sometimes blood test results suggest conditions that might need some follow-up.

2. Would you like to have a pre-op ECG (electrocardiogram) performed?

An ECG tracing can be obtained and electonically sent to a cardiologist prior to anesthesia.  After analyzing the ECG, the cardiologist responds promptly with comments and recommendations for medications to consider or avoid during anesthesia.  Sometimes this test leads us to consider additional testing, but very often it just gives us confidence or specifications regarding our anesthetic plan for the patient.

3. Would you like to have an ID number tattooed into your pet’s (right) ear?

a. This procedure requires general anesthesia, so it’s only offered when we already know the patient is going to be heavily asleep for another procedure.
b. This ID# is a code, identifying the clinic at which the pet was spayed/neutered & tattooed, and it also indicates the year it was done, and the # of that patient within that year at that clinic.
c. It is a code that is recognizable throughout BC vet clinics and SPCAs.
d. A tattoo is an inexpensive, low-tech, easily evident identifier on your pet, if he/she is ever lost. 
e. There is minimal discomfort with this procedure.
f. Your contact information must be kept up-to-date at the clinic where your pet was tattooed (even if you don’t go to that clinic anymore).
g. Unfortunately, the code is less likely to be correctly interpreted outside of BC.

4. Would you like to have a microchip implanted in your pet?

a. This can be done at any time and doesn’t require general anesthesia, but it’s just easier for the pet if under anesthesia, so it can be considered at the time of another procedure.
b. The microchip is injected just under the skin, around the back of the neck between the shoulder blades, and has a number that can be revealed by a microchip reading (scanning) device.
c. The number will be associated with your contact information that will be stored at a central database.  You have to keep your own contact information current (by communicating with the company web site for the microchip).
d. This will allow anyone (anywhere in the world) to find your contact information and inform you of your pet’s whereabouts, if your pet is found by someone who has access to a microchip reader/scanner (SPCA, vets & various other animal welfare organizations.)  
e. The disadvantage of microchips is – you need to have a microchip scanner.  This isn’t a common piece of equipment outside of an animal care facility, so sometimes it’s not found that the pet has a microchip.

Pre-procedure Questionnaire

Consent Form Questions:

This general questionnaire includes questions/info we may have, at the time you drop off your pet for their procedure.  It is not necessary for you to reply in advance, but it may be helpful to consider these things ahead of time, especially if you prefer to speed things up, at admitting time.


2. Is the pet fasted?
Cats and dogs should have no food for 8 hours prior to admission, but water is OK right up to time of admitting;
exceptions: bunnies [and any animals under 2kg body weight] are NOT fasted.

3. Has there been any change to your pet’s health recently? Anything new that we should know about? (loss of appetite, unintended weight loss, diarrhea, vomiting, cough, or any other symptoms of illness?)

4. If your pet is female, & coming in to be spayed, has there been a recent heat? How long ago? Could she be pregnant? Have there been previous litters?

5. Is your pet on a flea preventative?  They will receive a flea treatment (effective for 24-36 hours) if we find fleas on them.  There will be a charge for this.  Ideally this is to prevent flea infestation of any patient staying in the hospital at the same time.
Please let us know if you have questions about flea products. There are longer duration products we can discuss and set up, if you wish. 

6. We will ask you about additional tests/procedures while your pet is in our care?
-where applicable:

Pre-op bloodwork?  (recommended before anesthesia, but usually optional)

Tattoo while under anesthesia?
- for identification in case your pet goes wandering, but not easy to trace outside of the province

- for further identification in case your pet goes missing - effective I.D. for travel outside of the province

7. Is your pet on raw food? (Some of our staff are at potential risk when exposed to these animals and we need to be alerted to that.)

8. Does your pet have any medical conditions or allergies? On any medications? Have any special feeding requirements?

9. Is your pet up-to-date on vaccinations?

These are some questions we might need to ask at the time your pet is admitted for a procedure. Perhaps some of the answers are already evident in our records, but when that's not the case, we'll need to update our information.

And yes, we DO trim nails (if needed) while they are under anesthesia (no charge).