Understanding Veterinary Anesthesia
Anesthesia is state of unconsciousness induced to an animal. Anesthesia has three primary components; analgesia, which is pain relief, amnesia, memory loss, and immobilization. Not all anesthesia have the same effects. Some only contain 2 of the properties, some contain all, and some are combined to other drugs to achieve anesthetic effect. It is important to keep in mind that anesthesia, like all other drugs, has side effects as well which if not properly administered, can be lethal. This is usually administered before a surgical procedure or to relieve pain due to an injury.
There are 2 types of anesthesia; local anesthesia and general anesthesia. Local anesthesia provides pain control for specific parts of the body. Animal at this point is conscious during the procedure. During general anesthesia, the animal is unconscious, and is unaware of whatever is happening through the extent of the procedure or surgery. With animals, it is very hard to administer anesthesia, especially if we need to inject. Usually, with animals, vets induce anesthesia through inhalation which is a much easier way to administer since they don’t exactly stand still like humans do.
That is where veterinary anesthesia system comes in. Its primary purpose is to induce anesthesia to an animal through inhalation to render the animal unconscious throughout the surgery. There are two types of veterinary anesthesia; rebreathing system and non-rebreathing system. Rebreathing system is used for animals weighing over 10 pounds. Each breath contains exhaled carbon dioxide and inhaled oxygen with anesthetic added. Oxygen is regulated by a pressure valve to prevent oxygen from increasing too much. Rebreathing bag acts as a reservoir so that the fresh and exhaled gas is accumulated and would be available for next breath.
The second is the non-rebreathing system. This is typically used for animals that weigh less than 10 pounds. With this system, absolutely no carbon dioxide is rebreathed by the animal. It is used by smaller animals since they require larger amount of oxygen than larger animals, because with larger animals, oxygen will be wasted. The anesthesia is delivered by a vaporizer, which converts anesthesia to gas. The gas exits the vaporizers and passes through the inhalation hose for delivery to the animal using the endotracheal tube. The exhaled gas passes through the exhalation hose and is delivered directly to the rebreathing bag, which stores the gas. When pressure is sufficient, the gas passes through the scavenger hose, which is the last stop of the gas until it is out of the system. The veterinary anesthesia system in the USA is an innovation for all the veterinarians. It makes their jobs easier. It helps them help animals with a non-aggressive approach.