Undergoing anesthesia is always scary especially when it is someone you love being anesthetized. To help make anesthesia safer we can check your pets bloodwork before hand and monitor continously during anesthesia. We regularly perform preanesthetic blood tests that check blood sugar, liver and kidney values. These tests are usually optional for patients less than five to seven years of age (depending on the breed) and become mandatory after that. If we are concerned because of extreme age or extreme illness, we may even perform a complete blood count and full chemistry panel. These tests give the doctor a picture of the health of your pets organs and help the doctor determine which anesthetics would be best for your pet. I was quite shocked when I had knee surgery in 2001 to find that the only blood test that was done was a hemoglobin measurement (to check for anemia). While blood tests cannot totally negate the possibility of anesthetic complications, they do help minimize it.
Also, while your pet is under anesthesia, we monitor heart rate and rythm, the oxygen saturation level in the blood, the CO2 level of the blood, respiration rate and blood pressure. All of these parameters warn us of potential problems during surgery and allows an early response to make surgery safer.