Fear of general anesthesia for pets is a natural concern voiced by many owners when a veterinary dental procedure is recommended. However, the risk of chronic oral infection to your dog or cat, is far greater than the risk of an anesthetic complication. Some points to keep in mind when thinking about pet anesthesia are:
- Our own teeth are scaled by a dentist or hygienist - we sit in the chair and open our mouth when requested, letting the professional do their work. While the principles of good oral hygiene and dental health are the same for dogs and cats as for people, there are some significant differences. We understand why the procedure is important, and we typically do not need sedation or restraint. An important difference between human and veterinary dental practice is that we tell the dentist when there is discomfort; to ensure that nothing is missed in dogs or cats, our patients require a thorough oral examination including digital dental radiographs under general anesthesia as part of a professional dental cleaning.
- Anesthesia is essential for veterinary dental procedures, to ensure that the procedure can be completed successfully.
- Appropriately administered general anesthesia entails extremely low risk for the pet patient, as a result of a combination of pre-anesthetic assessment of the patient (including blood tests or other tests as indicated), use of modern anesthetic agents and local anesthetic blocks (which minimizes the depth of general anesthesia required), plus modern anesthetic monitoring equipment. Many patients are awake and standing within 15-20 minutes of completion of the procedure and go home the same day.
- While no one can guarantee the outcome of anesthesia, we are trained to provide safe anesthesia and to minimize pain for your pet.
- Some dental treatment and oral surgery procedures such as extraction, or even deep scaling of teeth may cause pain. We are trained to treat and prevent discomfort your pet could experience as a result of treatment. These steps include use of general anesthesia and local anesthetic blocks during the procedure, and post-operative medications when indicated. A pain-free mouth encourages prompt recovery of appetite and other activities following treatment.