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13 March 2018
If you have ever been in for even a minor surgical event, you will no doubt be aware of the anxiety you felt toward the impending procedure. Despite highly trained doctors, modern monitoring technology and our own capacity to understand what we are about to be put through, stress still builds and we often find ourselves needing reassurance that all will be OK.
Now imagine that you weigh 5 kg, you have just had a car ride, something that almost never happens, and your owners are about to walk you inside a new building. There is little doubt that you would be thinking something is not quite right, and when you are then bombarded with the smells and sounds of other animals, all a little nervous themselves, even if you are the happiest pet in the world, you would still start to wonder whether there was some danger you needed to be prepared for. Any pain or sickness that you may have been feeling will start to weigh a little more heavily on you.
Often a parallel is drawn between the pre-operative period for our veterinary patients and that of people presenting for surgery, but the lead up period for our pets can be significantly different. Dr Brad O’Hagan, Director of Veterinary Services at Jurox Animal Health points out, “The stresses that a pet feels when presented to a veterinary practice for surgery are often masked by the animal’s instinct to hide fear and weakness. Despite a calm exterior, the physiologic responses of stress are still there, in the form of a primed sympathetic nervous system, preparing the patient for flight or fight. A patient in such a primed state are not ideal candidates for the homeostatic rollercoaster of anaesthesia.”
“We often forget the fact that people can be talked down much more readily than pets can. This is one reason that chemical premedication of our veterinary patients in the 20 to 30 minutes prior anaesthetic induction is common practice. Medications like the alpha-2 agonist drugs have excellent anxiolytic properties, allowing the patient to calm. If the patient has been painful, or is likely to be in association with the procedure, then concurrent administration of opiate medications will have an additive effect to the alpha-2 agonist, and also result in a decrease in the overall requirement for the more potent anaesthetic induction and maintenance drugs,” Dr O’Hagan added.
Jurox has a suite of medications targeting the peri-operative period. A range of opiate medications – Bupredyne®, Methodyne® and Butordyne® - offer the ability to tailor the analgesic to the procedure. Medetate Injection – medetomidine - provides titratable and reversible sedation, and Reliven® Injection - meloxicam – with its anti-inflammatory effects can help smooth out the recovery period.
Dr O’Hagan points out however, “Whilst we have great medication options for anxious and painful patients now, we should always consider the calm, quiet, reassuring and confident handling by staff as vital to the successful outcome of any patient presented for anaesthesia. Nursing and ancillary staff that are attentive and alert to the patient’s experiences will give animals a better ride through the rollercoaster of being presented to hospital. This starts from the admission point and is every bit as important as the drugs that you choose to administer, especially considering that the patient may already be excited and still need to wait sometime before receiving any premedications.”
Returning to our own experiences as patients, safety, warmth, comfort and reassurance are what we would expect from the staff that are looking after us. We should aspire to the same things for our veterinary charges, and to achieve this, because they are non-verbal, we probably need to view the experience through the animal’s eyes, ears and nose to get a full understanding of what they are experiencing. Only then can we start to address pain and stress effectively and give our veterinary patients the type of care that we would expect ourselves.
If you would like to know more about premedication and analgesia considerations, the Jurox range or book an anaesthesia training presentation please contact Customer Service on 1800 023 312 or check out the anaesthesia and analgesia resources available on www.alfaxan.com.
Visit Jurox at the AVA Conference on stands 116,117.