Premedication considerations for dogs undergoing general anaesthesia

Nicola Waring
Monday, October 2, 2017

The selection of appropriate pre-anaesthetic drugs prior to general anaesthesia will provide a smoother induction and maintenance phase of anaesthesia. Catecholamine release will be reduced, subsequently reducing anxiety and problems associated with catecholamine release such as cardiac arrhythmias. Intravenous catheter placement and pre-oxygenation can prove less challenging. Analgesia can be provided pre-emptively, which is especially helpful in dogs with chronic pain, reducing the risks of central sensitisation.An ideal pre-anaesthetic medication provides sedation, has minimal effects on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, provides analgesia and is reversible. Unfortunately, no single drug has all of these properties, therefore a multi-modal approach is required to fulfil a patient's needs. There are several drugs from different pharmacological groups that are commonly used when premedicating dogs in veterinary practice including: opioids, phenothiazines, alpha-2-adrenoreceptor agonists, benzodiazepines and anaesthetic agents. Understanding the mode of action, dose ranges, contraindications, effects and side effects of these drugs allows selection of the most appropriate premedication drug combination for individual patients. It also allows provision of the safest anaesthetic environment possible for the patient and enables veterinary professionals to be prepared for potential complications. Anaesthetic complications cannot be entirely avoided but their risk can be reduced dramatically by understanding fully the drugs that are being used.

Premedication considerations for dogs undergoing general anaesthesia
Premedication considerations for dogs undergoing general anaesthesia

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