Why are pre-anaesthetic blood tests so important for Cavaliers?

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Before your Cavalier undergoes any anaesthesia, your veterinarian will discuss pre-anaesthetic blood tests with you. This is crucial to help you understand the potential risks and benefits associated with anaesthesia and surgery.

Cavaliers very sadly commonly have multiple health conditions, meaning pre-anaesthesia blood tests are important for several reasons. The tests help evaluate a dog’s overall health before it undergoes anaesthesia for a surgical or diagnostic procedure. The tests are carried out to minimise risks and ensure the dog’s safety during and after the procedure.

Sadly some owners don’t understand the importance. Some even believe that doing these tests is how vets bump up the surgery cost!

Many of our rescue dogs procedures have been postponed due to worrying findings on their pre-anaesthetic blood tests. If we hadn’t carried out the tests, it is very likely a number of dogs could have died under anaesthesia.

What are the tests looking for?

Identifying underlying health issues: Pre-anesthesia blood tests can uncover previously undiagnosed health issues that might impact the dog’s ability to tolerate anaesthesia or the planned procedure. These tests can help detect anaemia, infections, electrolyte imbalances, and other medical conditions that could compromise the dog’s safety during anaesthesia.

Assessing organ function: Blood tests evaluate the function of vital organs such as the liver and kidneys, which play crucial roles in processing and eliminating anaesthetic drugs. If these organs are not functioning properly, the anaesthesia process can pose a significant risk to the dog.

Informed decision-making: The results of pre-anaesthesia blood tests allow the veterinarian, and the dog’s owner, to make more informed decisions regarding the risks and benefits of the planned procedure. In some cases, the tests may indicate that delaying or even cancelling a procedure to address underlying health issues first is necessary.

Establishing baseline values: Blood tests provide a baseline for the dog’s health, which can be useful for comparison with future blood work. This can help track a disease’s progress, monitor the response to treatment, or detect new health issues early.

Don’t forget the heart!

As well as making sure your Cavalier has pre-anaesthesia blood tests, it is a good idea to have an echocardiogram before the procedure if your dog has mitral valve disease (or other heart disease). This establishes how the heart is functioning and determines if any medication is needed to ensure your dog is stable before the procedure.

The rescue Cavaliers commonly have an echocardiogram, and if their heart is enlarged, they have a few weeks of heart medication before surgery.


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