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Pain Management and Anesthesia
At VSC we take pain seriously!   Pain control is our goal.  Whether it is pain management for a chronic condition such as arthritis or acute pain associated with a surgery or a procedure, you can rest assured that your pet’s pain will be managed.  A multimodal approach is taken to pain management in the perioperative period, and at home pets are frequently on more than one drug to manage any pain or discomfort they may have. A customized pain management protocol is designed for each patient because we know that all pets are different.  Postoperatively this may include intravenous or oral medications, cold compression therapy, LASER treatments, rehabilitation, or “pain patches”.

How our Patients are Anesthetized

Patient safety and comfort are important to the staff at VSC.  Anesthesia at VSC includes a multiple drug protocol for maximum safety.  On the day of surgery, another physical examination is performed to ensure that your pet is still fit for anesthesia and surgery. Preoperative blood work (generally a complete blood count and a chemistry) and ECG is reviewed and a sedative premedication is given to relax your pet prior to placement of an intravenous catheter.  All patients having anesthesia and surgery or medical procedures at VSC receive intravenous fluids and have venous access for administration of any emergency drugs if necessary.

Anesthesia is induced with intravenous drugs and an endotracheal tube (breathing tube) is placed into the trachea.  Pets receive a gas anesthetic (isoflurane or sevoflurane with oxygen). Gas anesthesia enables us to control your pet’s level of anesthesia quickly for improved safety. We also have a ventilator if needed for your pet.

Patient Monitoring and Pain Management

VSC staff is well trained in anesthesia and patient monitoring.  For every anesthetized patient one experienced staff member is assigned to monitor their anesthesia.

Advanced monitoring equipment, the same as those used in human operating theaters, is used on all our patients. These include blood pressure monitors, pulse oximeters to monitor oxygenation of the blood, end tidal CO2 monitors to monitor breathing, and ECG’s to monitor heart rate and rhythm. Our surgery tables are heated, and we have additional external heat support for use (warm air blower (Bair Hugger), warm water heating blankets and a fluid warmer).

At VSC we employ the latest pain management techniques, including intra-articular anesthesia, epidural anesthesia and local blocks as indicated. All patients receive intravenous pain medications after surgery and are sent home with oral pain medications.

Many pet owners are concerned about anesthesia when their pet needs surgery, especially if they feel their pet is too old to be anesthetized. Age is not a contraindication to anesthesia. Rest assured that the well-trained staff at VSC will make your pet’s anesthesia as safe as possible.


Pets are often sedated for minor procedures (such as biopsies, joint palpation, ESWT treatment, fluid sampling, etc.) and radiographs. The sedatives that we use are very safe and reversible, so that your pet will be able to go home shortly after the sedation is reversed. Once home, your pet may be quiet or sleepy for the rest of the day.