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The Benefits of Pre-Anesthetic Bloodwork and IV Fluid Therapy for Your Pet

Why do IV fluids and bloodwork?

When you bring your beloved pet in for a routine procedure such as a spay or neuter, they’ll be placed under anesthesia. In that situation, IV fluids and bloodwork add important health benefits for your pet and let the medical team reduce any risk of surgery while they are under anaesthesia. 

Pre-Anesthetic Bloodwork
Before the surgery begins, a small sample of blood is collected and evaluated in our in-house lab. Bloodwork allows the veterinarian to evaluate the health of many different body systems, such as the liver, kidneys, and pancreas – the organs most involved in metabolizing and eliminating from the body the medications given during surgery.

The blood is evaluated for signs of anemia, dehydration, infection, inflammation, the presence of parasites, and signs that the animal may have a problem with blood clotting. In young animals especially, signs of disease may not yet be apparent on a physical examination.

Aside from the detection of hidden illness, the benefits of pre-anesthetic bloodwork include peace of mind as well as the establishment of a “baseline” of normal values for your individual animal which can help in the diagnosis of disease later in life.

IV Fluid Therapy
An IV catheter is placed into a vein in one of the legs and a balanced electrolyte solution is delivered straight into the bloodstream. IV fluids offer many benefits to the pet while they are under anaesthesia.

IV fluids maintain the animal’s hydration while in surgery. As it is recommended that every animal be fasted before surgery, they are usually slightly dehydrated before they even come to the veterinary hospital. In addition, there may be some blood loss during surgery. The IV will replace these fluids lost and keep your pet well hydrated.

Fluids help balance blood pressure when an animal is sedated. Anaesthesia can cause blood pressure to drop over time which if left unattended can cause damage to the kidneys. The blood pressure of every animal is monitored closely while they are in surgery and if a decline is noted IV fluid administration is one of the only ways to compensate.

It is normal for an animal’s core body temperature to drop slowly while sedated. The body temperature of every animal is closely monitored during surgery and if a decrease is noted there are many ways the medical team will correct it, one of which is administering pre-warmed IV fluids directly into the body.

Likely the biggest value that IV fluids provide is access to the bloodstream through the IV catheter. The catheter allows other types of medications to be delivered quickly and efficiently to your pet. In the event of an emergency this is the quickest way to deliver emergency drugs to your animal.

We’ll give your pet a thorough physical exam before any surgery, and discuss any potential risks with you. Every pet is unique and we’ll give you recommendations based on your pet’s best interest.

Dr. Gary Arzem, Newmarket Veterinarian

About Dr. Arzem and North Yonge Veterinary Hospital:
Dr. Gary Arzem received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from The Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Ontario in 1989. He is a founder and head veterinarian at North Yonge Veterinary Hospital in Newmarket, Ontario. Having practiced veterinary medicine for more than 28 years, his skills and special interests include surgery, dentistry, diagnostic imaging (ultrasound and radiography), dermatology, internal medicine, cardiology, ophthalmology and public health as it relates to pets and their owners. He is a founder of The Veterinary Emergency Clinic of York Region in Newmarket. Dr. Arzem is recognized as an educational leader in the community and is involved with The Ontario Veterinary College, York Region District School Board, Simcoe County Board of Education, and both Seneca and Sheridan College’s Co-Operative Education Programs. Dr. Arzem also participates in several continuing education conferences, including The North American and Western Veterinary Conferences and he is actively involved in fundraising for a number of charitable organizations, such as The Pet Trust Fund, The Farley Foundation, The Hospital for Sick Children and the Canadian Cancer Society. He has also appeared on City T.V.’s Animal House Calls and Rogers Your Pet Your Vet television shows and has written several articles for Newmarket’s Snapd Newspapers.

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