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Dental Anaesthesia and Analgesia of the Dog and Cat

02 July 2017
13 mins read
Volume 8 · Issue 6


Registered veterinary nurses (RVN) and student veterinary nurses (SVN) may be involved with providing perioperative care for dental patients every week in practice. There are many ways that the RVN, working with the veterinary surgeon (VS), can help to ensure the patient has a comfortable and uneventful time from admission to discharge. This includes pre anaesthetic assessments and working together to develop an anaesthetic plan, with multimodal analgesia and careful patient monitoring and intervention as needed. This article looks at the dental patient through all stages of the anaesthetic period, and will aim to give the reader some guidance on how they should be managing these cases to provide the best care possible.

Preparing for, and monitoring of general anaesthesia (GA) in cats and dogs is a large part of a registered veterinary nurse's (RVN's) responsibility in practice. Dental anaesthesia may be for a 10 minute scale and polish on a fit healthy Labrador or extensive extractions on a 16-year-old cat with several co-morbidities. Therefore the anaesthesia and analgesia requirements of the dental patient in the perioperative period should be considered and prepared for on an individual basis, although the basic care requirements remain the same. Due to the nature of dental disease progressing with age, and the increased life expectancy of animals, many of the patients presenting for dental work can be classified as geriatric, in the last 25% of their expected life span (Bradbrook, 2016). As well as the considerations that go with any other dental anaesthesia the specific requirements of the geriatric patient must now be considered. The ageing process affects many body systems and alterations in anatomy and physiology of the geriatric patient may affect pharmacology of drugs administered in anaesthesia (Bradbrook 2016). Thorough pre-op assessment, careful choices, vigilant monitoring and attentive supportive care will improve the probability of a successful outcome for the elderly patient (Hughes, 2008).

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