Anesthesia Preparation in a Veterinary Hospital

Anesthesia Preparation in a Veterinary Hospital
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  • 0:01 Anesthesia
  • 1:45 The Anesthesia Prep Room
  • 2:20 Anesthesia Prep: The Goings On
  • 4:09 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
This lesson will cover the basic but important details of the anesthetic prep room. You'll learn what anesthesia means, who an anesthesiologist is, and what some of the procedures are that occur in this area of the veterinary hospital.


It wasn't all that long ago that veterinary medicine was in the dark ages about appropriate anesthetic care. After all, we can't talk to our patients to figure out if we're doing a good job for them or if the drugs are working as expected, which makes things difficult.

The anesthetic care we provide refers to anesthesia, which is a temporary state induced by medication that includes any or all of the following: muscle relaxation, unconsciousness, a lack of memory, and a lack of sensation (including a lack of pain).

With every passing year, veterinary medicine is advancing more and more with respect to appropriate anesthetic care before, during, and after surgery in order to aid in appropriate pain management and recovery.

This is critical, as inappropriate pain management can delay proper recovery, not to mention it can be highly distressing to the patient. A patient that may not be able to tell you directly how much it hurts oftentimes sits silently and suffers from excruciating pain. This is because animals instinctively try and hide their pain from others as they do in nature in order to avoid seeming weak.

There are many drugs to choose from in the world of anesthesia. Some are better than others at pain relief, some are used in animals with specific medical conditions, and some last longer than others.

The consideration of which drugs to use is best left to a veterinary anesthesiologist, a board-certified veterinarian skilled in the administration of anesthetics (substances that produce anesthesia), although smaller hospitals will rely on a general practitioner to make this decision instead.

The Anesthesia Prep Room

Large veterinary hospitals will often have a separate anesthesia prep room, a room where patients are housed in order to be pre-medicated, catheterized, induced, intubated, and provided other individualized anesthetic care prior to surgery.

Such rooms usually don't exist in smaller veterinary hospitals and are instead part of a larger area, such as a treatment room. The anesthesia prep room will have a lot of medical supplies, equipment, and instruments. Notably, there will be lots of fluids and drugs.

Anesthesia Prep: The Goings On

Some of the drugs are used for premedication. When an animal is premedicated, it is given a cocktail of drugs that help to relieve some pain, make it sleepy, relaxed, and as comfortable as possible. However, the animal is not completely knocked unconscious at this point.

Once the premedication takes effect, the animal has an IV catheter inserted into a vein. An IV catheter is a slender hollow tube inserted into a vein ('I'ntra'V'enously - IV) in order to allow for the withdrawal of blood or insertion of drugs or fluids into the vein.

If you didn't insert a catheter, you'd have to re-stick the patient over and over again with a sharp needle every time a drug needs to be given. For starters, that's painful for the patient, which runs contrary to the definition of anesthesia.

Secondly, it's dangerous, as anesthetic medication must sometimes be given at a moment's notice, and a catheter provides direct, immediate, and established access to the patient's vein.

Once the IV catheter is placed, a lot more can occur. The patient can be induced. Induction refers to the time when a patient is given a drug that makes it unconscious.

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