Ariel's Cardiac Disease and Anesthesia Case
Ariel is an older poodle who has significant cardiac disease. As a small breed dog, she is also very prone to gum disease. Her parents had been diligent in her oral care until the last few years, when they stopped having anesthesia performed due to the anesthesia risk. Unfortunately, this allowed the disease to progress, despite homecare efforts.
She presented to her family vet a few months ago for a draining abscess under the right eye. Initially, a dental issue was not the top differential as the teeth looked fairly healthy (Figure 2). However, after the abscess recurred several times following antibiotics, a tooth root abscess was strongly suspected.
Ariel’s Referral to VDS
She was referred to Veterinary Dental Specialties for dental work. Not only because, as dentists, we are typically faster than general practitioners, thus decreasing anesthesia time, but also because we employ a Veterinary anesthesiologist. After evaluation, anesthesia and dental work were planned with Dr. Niemiec and Dr. McNally. Once under anesthesia, an oral exam and radiographs confirmed that the upper fourth premolar in the area was severely infected. (Figure 3) This tooth, as well as several others, was extracted.
Cardiac Patients and Anesthesia
Surgery and anesthesia were routine, and she recovered well and was almost back to normal the following day. It has been shown that cardiac patients are at minimally increased risk for anesthesia. In fact, most patients with comorbidities can safely have anesthesia. Dental work should not be avoided except in the most significant cases. If you have a pet or patient who would benefit from dental work, but you are concerned about anesthesia, contact VDS and Dr. McNally, along with our dentists, can decide the risk: benefit ratio and create a plan for safe anesthesia.
If you would like to learn more about anesthesia and become more comfortable with challenging cases, come to San Diego on April 22-23 for our Anesthesia Weekend.
On Saturday, Dr. McNally will be providing a full day of lectures for vets and techs. On Sunday afternoon, we have a unique opportunity for attendees to learn anesthesia on a live patient under the guidance of Dr. McNally. A dog and cat will be anesthetized and she will take you through pre-op work up, premedication, induction, monitoring (including dealing with interoperative issues), recovery and proper pain management.