Risk #5: Prior Medical Conditions
Overall, anesthesia risks for pets are low. In a multi-institutional British study, healthy dogs were found to be at .05% risk for death during anesthesia. The mortality rates for healthy cats were at 0.1%, while sick cats and dogs have a mortality rate of 1.3%
According to Kushner, anesthesia should be reconsidered if the risks of giving your pet anesthesia outweighs the benefit your pet will get from the procedure, and if your pet has heart, airway, tracheal or pulmonary disease or needs any type of longer procedure or surgery, she recommends seeking out a specialty practice with an anesthesiologist on staff.
“If your pet has heart failure, the first thing is to get it under control before anesthesia. The heart isn’t pumping adequately, so you have to treat that first and then you can do the procedure,” she said.
Other preexisting medical conditions that can make anesthesia more risky include liver or kidney disease, unregulated diabetes, myopathy (especially in cats, in which cardiomyopathy is a common heart disease) and dehydration, Kushner said. It’s important to discuss your pet’s age, medical history and severity of any preexisting diseases or conditions with your vet before any procedure.
“It’s important to get a full health profile and a baseline of blood work done before surgery. It doesn’t necessarily affect the outcome of anesthesia, but it gives an idea of any underlying problems,” Kushner said.