Current generation anaesthetic drugs are the safest ever produced, but that does not mean that the anaesthetic risk is zero. The risk to patients depends on several factors including age, presence of disease, having a full stomach, allergies, stress, amount of body fat and even breed. Minimising these risk factors is the logical step before having an anaesthetic.
Patient history and a physical examination will provide us with a large amount of information but there is information that is impossible to know without blood tests. This includes information that detects sub-clinical disease, disease that is at a low level that cannot be “seen” on the outside. Kidney and liver function, which are important for elimination of anaesthetics and other drugs from the body, can only be assessed with blood testing.
If the results of the pre-anaesthetic blood tests are normal, then we can continue with confidence and know that anaesthetic risk has been minimised. If the results are not within the normal range then the anaesthetic protocol can be modified to provide extra patient support during and after anaesthesia. If the results are considerably abnormal, the procedure can be postponed and treatment or further testing can be performed.
We recommend performing a pre anaesthetic blood test on every patient prior to the anaesthetic. Minimising the potential risks involved with anaesthesia provides everyone with peace of mind and safer anaesthetics for your pets.