Benefits of Individualized Anesthesia Plans

September 29, 2016
American Veterinarian Editorial Staff

Tasha McNerney, CVT, CVPP, anesthesia technician at the Center for Animal Referral and Emergency Services, discusses the benefits of individualized anesthesia plans.

Tasha McNerney, CVT, CVPP, anesthesia technician at the Center for Animal Referral and Emergency Services, discusses the benefits of individualized anesthesia plans.

Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

“When we think about what techs [can] do to make anesthesia more comfortable for them or comfortable for their patient, less chance of side effects overall, we really need to think about individualized anesthesia plans. Thinking that each patient should get a combination like butorphanol [acepromazine and glycopyrrolate] is really kind of old school thinking. Nowadays, [we] want to look at the patient, we want to look at their disease state, we want to look at how much pain is anticipated with this procedure. If we know there’s going to be a really painful procedure, a drug like butorphanol is not going to be good enough. We need to hit it with something heavy: methadone oxymorphone, a good opioid.

I think we need to look at each patient as an individual and stop thinking [that] 'well everybody that gets surgery is going to get X drug.' Well, this patient may not deal well with X drug, so then [where] can we go from there? Maybe this patient has a broken leg, but this one is just a feline castration, different levels of pain, so they need to be treated differently with different anesthetic drugs.

I think that if the technician gets some extra training in anesthesia and pain management and gets to learn the nuances of all the different drugs, that’s going to make their [lives] a lot easier. Once you learn the drugs and learn the side effects of the drugs, know how to react to those side effects, it’s going to make your job a lot easier and make your veterinarian’s job a lot easier, too. Now, they can concentrate on the surgery [and] you can concentrate on making that animal comfortable and pain-free.”