IMG 5684edited

General anesthesia is necessary for many medical procedures and with modern methods of anesthesia administration and monitoring, the risk in veterinary medicine is minimized as in human medicine. General anesthetic agents cause overall central nervous system effects producing reversible unconciousness and analgesia. They also affect the body’s homeostatic mechanisms and therefore the patient’s condition must be managed to keep the body functioning in equilibrium.

At the Veterinary Neurological Center, the doctors and technicians take numerous measures to ensure every patient is anesthetized as safely as possible. Prior to inducing a patient the doctors consider many factors such as patient history, physical examination findings and labwork results. During the anesthetic procedure, specially trained technicians closely monitor parameters such as breathing, circulation and temperature and control them as needed. Monitoring equipment (see below) is used to augment clinical observations (e.g. palpating pulse) and is necessary because: 1) they can easily and accurately detect complex vital signs of patients 2) they free up hands so anyone can see the current (and recent) measurements 3) they allow many parameters to be monitored simultaneously. ►Click here to learn more about anesthesia and monitoring.


Tidal Volume and Respiratory Rate

  • Ventilator
  • Clinical Observations: chest (and abdominal) movements

Oxygen Saturation (and heart rate)

  • Pulse Oximeter
  • Clinical Observations: mucus membrane color, capillary refill time

Expired Carbon Dioxide (and respiratory rate)

  • Capnograph
  • Clinical Observations: mucus membrane/tongue color

Anesthetic Concentration

  • Agent Analyzer
  • Clinical Observations: menace response, reflexes (palpebral, corneal, toe pinch), muscle tone

Electroactivity of the Heart and Heart Rate/Rhythm

  • Electrocardiograph (ECG or EKG)
  • Clinical Observations: palpate pulse rate, listen to heart with stethoscope

Blood Pressure (and heart rate)

  • Blood Pressure Monitor
  • Clinical Observations: palpate pulse pressure (and rate)

Blood Flow (and heart rate)

  • Doppler
  • Clinical Observations: palpate pulse pressure (and rate)

Core Body Temperature

  • Thermometer