How to: Up your anesthesia game as a veterinary technician


An original Veterinary Anesthesia Nerd says 'that's just the way we've always done it' is a bad basis for anesthetic protocols.

Fetch dvm360 conference speaker Tasha McNerney, BS, CVT, CVPP, VTS (anesthesia and analgesia), spends a lot of time training and consulting at clinics, so she's had the chance to see many veterinary teams in action. Based on her real-world observations, here are three things she wishes vet techs would stop doing right now.

Stop stressing out your patients (and yourself)

There's more than one way to get results in the clinic. And if your way is a dreadful pain, it's time to switch things up. McNerney gives the example of placing an IV catheter in a large dog.

"With the Fear Free movement and all kinds of low-stress handling techniques and resources, we owe it to our patients, as well as ourselves, to make this experience the least stressful as possible," she says.

McNerney urges you to seek out guidance for these techniques, and remember that in certain cases it's perfectly acceptable to sedate patients before stressful procedures.

More McNerney manifestations

Coffee on the Couch: A conversation with veterinary technician Tasha McNerney.

An anesthesia nerd's favorite products.

Back Office Blunders, Episode 9: The overeager educator.

Take it easy with the atropine

The use of atropine is an appropriate measure for anesthetic and other emergencies, McNerney says, but adding the drug to a patient's pre-med protocol by rote motion isn't necessary.

"If you're still including atropine in your pre-med just because 'that's the way we've done it for 20 years,' get with the times," she says.

McNerney implores you to do your research. It will reveal the dangers of atropine overuse, she says.

Don't be afraid of dexmedetomidine

"Look on the label," McNerney says. Dexmedetomidine provides for more than just sedation, and the drug works well in concert with other medications.

"When you combine dexmedetomidine and opioids into your pre-med, you get great sedation and great analgesia," she says.

Click the video for more information.

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