Are Certain Dog Breeds at Higher Risk Under Anesthesia?

July 24, 2018

Breeders sometimes promote the idea that certain dog breeds are at higher risk when undergoing anesthesia.

Breeders sometimes promote the idea that certain dog breeds are at higher risk when undergoing anesthesia. But Khursheed Mama, DVM, DACVAA, professor of veterinary anesthesiology at Colorado State University, says this isn't true.

"We hear a lot from breeders or in lay journals, like from a breed society, that say the Greyhound is at higher risk or the boxer is at higher risk. And I think probably what has happened is there have been dogs anesthetized from those breeds that suffered complications. and as a result, it became more broadly thought that they were at a higher risk. There are many reasons that a dog may have complications that may or may not be breed-specific.

That said, I think I mentioned earlier there are breeds, such as the brachycephalic, that are at higher risk. There are some breeds that have heart disease, and, more recently, the sort of Australian Cattle Dog and the collie with known degrees of drug metabolism issues. So those may cause a dog to sleep longer, may have a more profound effect with drugs, so there are some risks related to real or good evidence. And then others, I think, are just probably related to not having done all the steps to ensure a good anesthetic outcome."