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Is my pet too old for surgery?

Older pets commonly have anaesthetics and we will advise the options for your pet.

If you have an older animal who might require a surgical or dental procedure, you may be concerned about them undergoing a general anaesthetic. However, our veterinarians will be able to provide the best advice specific to your pets needs, and explain how we can manage any potential risks associated with old age.

It is important to remember that if your elderly pet needs an anaesthetic, it will be to address a far more serious problem, that may be painful, or affect their quality of life if not attended to. It will be natural to worry, as we would with any pet, but the benifit will always far outweigh the risks.

As part of our discussion with you, we will examine your pet and may touch on some of the following areas:

  • Cardiovascular health During the physical examination of your pet, we’ll assess your pet’s cardiovascular health, and can discuss any pre-existing health issues or current medications with you.

  • Blood tests In order to check for any underlying health issues such as kidney or liver problems, which can be more likely in the elderly, a pre-anaesthetic blood test will often be recommended. This allows us to be aware of any health conditions and to implement the best treatment to minimise any associated risks.

  • Medications We carefully select pre-anaesthetic drug combinations to minimise the risk for older pets. We use a combination of sedatives, pain relief and anti-anxiety medications which together allow for a smoother and stress free procedure.

  • Anaesthetic gas we use one of the safest anaesthetic gases available called Isofluorane. Anaesthetic gas allows us to manage a safe level of anaesthesia, during your pet's procedure. Once the gas is turned off it, is quickly out of the system allowing your pet to wake up within a very short period. This allows for smoother and faster recovery times, allowing them to get home to you sooner.

  • Intravenous fluids We routinely use intravenous fluids for all our general anaesthetics, no matter the age. Intravenous fluids help support and maintain adequate blood pressure and help to flush the anaesthetic drugs out of their system as quickly as possible.

  • Managing anxiety If your pet is known to be anxious, we will discuss whether any medications are recommended prior to the general anaesthesia. Your pet will always be carefully monitored while they are in our veterinary hospital.

  • Pain management A pain management treatment plan will be provided based on your pet's underlying health status. we often use a combination of two types of pain relief for most surgical and dental procedures.

With these safety precautions, we can maintain your pet’s health and comfort whilst they undergo any surgical or dental procedures. We will advise you about the optimal treatment options available for your pet to help keep them happy and healthy.


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