Why Intraoperative Monitoring Of Canine Vital Signs Is Crucial

Posted on: 5 November 2018

If your dog will be undergoing a surgical procedure, chances are that it will require the use of general anesthesia. Veterinary anesthesia systems are used to administer the proper type and amount of anesthesia for your pet based on weight, age, and current health status. While your dog is under anesthesia, the veterinarian will monitor its vital signs carefully because failure to do so may result in a poor prognosis. Here are some reasons why intraoperative monitoring of your dog's vital signs is crucial to its health:

To Maintain A Normal Blood Pressure

Your dog's veterinarian will monitor the canine's blood pressure during surgery to make sure that it does not get too high or drop to dangerous levels. If your dog becomes hypertensive during its surgical procedure, it can raise the risk for stroke or cerebral hemorrhage.

If the veterinarian notices a steady rise or spike in blood pressure, anti-hypertensive drugs will be administered through the dog's intravenous line, which will rapidly lower the blood pressure to reduce the risk for a cerebrovascular event or organ damage.

In addition to high blood pressure, dogs can experience a dangerous drop in blood pressure during surgery known as hypotension. When canine blood pressure gets too low during surgery as a result of general anesthesia, a cardiac arrhythmia can develop, meaning the dog's heart may beat erratically and dangerously out of control.

A hypotensive crisis during surgery can sometimes mean that the animal is losing too much blood. If this happens to your dog, extra fluids may be administered and your dog may need a blood transfusion. After the intravenous fluids have increased the blood volume and the lost blood has been replaced via a blood transfusion, your dog's blood pressure will start to rise to normal levels once again.

The veterinary surgical staff will keep a close watch on the veterinary anesthesia machine so that even subtle changes in the dog's condition will be recognized and addressed as soon as possible. 

To Monitor For Hypothermia

Because anesthesia may cause your dog to lose the ability to regulate its body temperature during surgery, hypothermia, or low body temperature may develop. It is important for the veterinary staff to monitor the canine's temperature with either an ear or rectal thermometer during surgery.

Hypothermia during surgery can have serious health consequences on your dog such as bradycardia, or a too-slow heartbeat, longer recovery time, blood clots, and circulation problems. If your dog's body temperature gets too low during its procedure, warming attempts will be made to help increase the core temperature, which will reduce the risk for complications.

Interventions used in the treatment of intraoperative canine hypothermia include applying heating pads to the patient and administering warm intravenous fluids though the tubing. Other safe and simple interventions may include covering the dog with warm blankets and even wrapping the dog with special plastic wrap to help insulate and warm the pet.

Once your dog's temperature has been regulated through these interventions, the blankets, wraps, and heating pads may be removed so that the patient does not get overheated, which may result in hyperthermia or overheating. 

If your dog will be undergoing a surgical procedure, talk to the veterinarian about the risks and benefits of general anesthesia. While veterinary anesthesia systems are safe and effective, the surgical staff at the animal hospital will need to closely monitor your pet so that changes in its health status can be recognized and treated quickly.

The sooner that subtle changes in the animal's blood pressure, heart rate, blood oxygenation, and temperature are noticed, the sooner that an effective treatment plan can be implemented so that the dog can enjoy an event-free recovery period.