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Sedation Information

Sedation vs. Anesthesia

Do you know the difference between sedation and general anesthesia? Sedation refers to a state where the patient is calm and relaxed and may or may not be conscious. Sedation is typically used for shorter (up to 30 minutes), less-invasive veterinary procedures such as diagnostic imaging, joint injections, suture removal, and wound management. Injectable sedation is short acting, and with most sedatives, a reversal agent can be given once the procedure is complete. This agent reverses the effects of the sedative on the central nervous system and can provide quick recovery within 15- 20 minutes after injection.

On the other hand, anesthesia produces a loss of consciousness. General anesthesia is typically used for longer, more invasive procedures such as surgery or dental cleanings. When a pet is under general anesthesia, they are connected to an anesthetic machine, and a tube is placed through their mouth into the trachea to allow oxygen and the inhalant anesthetic to be dispersed as the patient breathes.

Pre-Visit Pharmaceuticals

Is your pet usually nervous or stressed during veterinary visits? Talk to your veterinarian to see if pre-visit medication might be an option. These medications are used as an addition to training, behavioral, and/or environmental modification to treat veterinary-related fear, anxiety, or stress.

When implemented with a behavioral treatment plan, these medications can increase the odds of a successful visit. They help reduce stress and anxiety so the veterinary team can work to change the way your pet feels about specific procedures. If your pet is anxious about veterinary visits, your veterinarian can recommend a plan to help make exams less stressful.

Sedation Benefit: Safety of Pet

Has your pet ever had to undergo a procedure requiring sedation? It’s common to have questions and concerns about the safety of sedation, and while there’s a risk with any procedure, sedation can be an important part of any veterinary treatment plan. Without sedation, moving forward with procedures when your pet is distressed can create long-lasting negative effects, and increase fear, stress, and anxiety for the next appointment. This can make future medial care difficult and have negative effects on your pet’s health.

Sedation Benefit: Safety of Veterinary Team

Using sedation not only helps decrease your pet’s stress but also increases the veterinary team’s safety. When a patient undergoes a veterinary procedure while they are painful, fearful, stressed, and anxious, the pet will begin to panic. Unfortunately, pets do not understand why they are being poked or restrained, and they will do everything in their power to make this scary situation stop. This behavior can include aggression, such as growing, lunging, and biting, which can injure the veterinary team member. By providing sedation at the onset, this scenario can be prevented, and the procedure can be completed safely and effectively.