Why is pre-anesthetic labwork important?
Does Fido have a broken leg? Did Fifi swallow her nylon dog bone? Does Bingo have a laceration? Or is your pet going to have an elective surgery (spay/neuter)?
Patients of all ages can appear perfectly “normal” and “healthy”, yet their bodies have internal issues that we cannot see externally. Bloodwork not only helps us decide which anesthetic protocol to use, but it also gives your pet the best chance of recovery when we can use the anesthetic protocol that best suits your pet’s need before, during, and after anesthesia.
There are some diseases that can be potentially fatal if not detected before undergoing anesthesia. For example, PUPPIES can have kidney/liver failure. Yes, it is completely possible to have at such a young age. I have personally seen this multiple times during my career. Another example is something called a “portosystemic shunt”. This means that toxins, including anesthesia, bypass the liver and (instead of being filtered by the liver) are put directly into the rest of the body. This is extremely dangerous and is why it is so important to check how the liver/kidneys are functioning prior to anesthesia.
Heartworm testing is vital if the patient is not current on heartworm prevention. Pets with a pre-existing heartworm condition are at a much greater risk of complications.
There are risk with anesthesia, however, the risk are much lower when we are able to see what is happening internally.