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How Dangerous Is Anesthesia?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I would really like to have my cat go for dental cleaning at least every other year but the animal clinic that I go to, I have to sign something that says they won't be held responsible for my cat in case he does not wake up from anesthesia. I think I should have the right to sue if they put too much anesthesia and if my loved one dies. Are the animal hospitals or clinics at your place the same way? Do you have to sign a paper before you take your cat for a surgery or dental cleaning?
post #2 of 18
Thread Starter 
post #3 of 18
yes everybody does. anything can happen when one is put under,it is a risk everyone takes.But if your cats need it done,then you have no chose(sp).Even humans ,when they are put under,there is a risk.
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Yes even humans are put on risks when they are under anesthesia....Only thing difference tho, a very unfair difference is that they are NOT asked to sign any "It's not our fault you couldn't handle the overdosed medicine I put in ya, so rest in piece see ya wouldn't wanna be ya " type of form.. You know?

I would think America would actually care for its animals equally the same as humans
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
post #6 of 18
Yes, there is always a risk with anesthesia. I have had to sign papers like that also. It is one reason why I do not have dental work done unless it is necessary.

It is not necessarily because the cat was given too much anesthesia. It might be due to some undetected condition. A vet could do a thorough work-up on a cat to make sure that they did not have any undetected conditions but that would cost you hundreds of dollars in diagnostic tests. Ask me how I know. I had a 17 year cat that needed to be put under for a biopsy. He was given thorough tests, cardiograms, etc. to make sure he could withstand the anesthesia. You might consider brushing your cat's teeth instead of having their teeth cleaned so often.

In most areas of the US in cases of death of a pet you can only sue a veterinarian to recover the cost of the animal and because of that you might even have difficulty finding a lawyer to take such a case:

http://www.aldf.org/packets/malpractice.html
post #7 of 18
I am a vet tech and at our hospital we have the same forms stating that you understand that there can be risks asscociated with anesthetic and also if your pet was to soil itself, become injured from an escape attempt or refuse food while at the hospital that we will do everything under our control to prevent but accidents do occur. It does not mean you are signing your cat's life away just simply that you understand that these things can happen.

On the other hand you are not helping your cat any by NOT having the dental work done, a bad case of gingivitis can lead to many problems such as kidney failure and heart disease. I would just make sure that you atleast have a small pre-anesthetic panel of bloodwork run to check out all the basic organs to make sure they are working properly and if your vet allows it and would make you feel better-ask and see if they will let you watch while they are cleaning the teeth-it is interesting to learn about and you can be there if (heaven forbid) anything should go worng. Make sure they hook your cat up to IV fluids, that will help keep the anesthetic to wear off easier.

I do understand that it is a scary thing to sign those forms, but remember when we have any type of surgery or anesthetic we have to sign the same forms. Good luck with your kitty and please consider having his/her teeth cleaned. Your kitty will be better off for having it done.
post #8 of 18
Be sure to have bloodwork and tests done on your cat before you consider anasthesia. Gizmo's tooth cleaning has been put on indefinite hold since her heart condition was discovered; she could have died on the operating table. I appreciate the vet's concern and caution.
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by sherral46 View Post
yes everybody does. anything can happen when one is put under,it is a risk everyone takes.But if your cats need it done,then you have no chose(sp).Even humans ,when they are put under,there is a risk.
Ditto that ... My 18 yr old had a dental and the vet always runs blood work and gives her extra fluids/// My dog had surgery and the blood work showed one liver enzyme elevated( eventdentally common) and the vet used a different anestetia
post #10 of 18
I agree - there is always a risk with any anaesthesia - human or animal. I've had a few operations myself and I have always had to sign a form stating that I was aware of the risk.

We almost lost our little Mika when she was spayed. She came out of the anaesthesia very quickly and they had to fight to save her. Our vet told us that if she ever needed anaesthesia in the future to let the vet know this happened with her.
post #11 of 18
i dont recall reading anything like that when I signed paperwork, but I do know htere are risks, and it is one of the reasons I would never have them put under for minor things like regular cleaning. I would recommend pre-anaesthetic blood tests though, and most vets here do them as routine when your cat gets to a certain age.
post #12 of 18
Having any procedure carried out under anaesthetic always carries some risk. If an animal dies on the operating table or from complications afterwards that doesn't necessarily mean the vet has done anything wrong - you can't predict all outcomes. Signing a consent form is routine and is just you saying you agree to the procedure being carried out and understand associated risks. I dont' recall whether people have to sign anything when having an anaesthetic as I've only had one and that was years ago, but I did have to sign a consent form when I had a wisdom tooth removed under sedation a few years ago. I don't think it's a case of treating animals and people differently.

Personally, I'd avoid unnecessary procedures and for me that would include preventative dentals. I wouldn't have a dental done unless the vet said my cats teeth needed cleaning. Jaffa didn't need a dental until he was nearly 9 years old. Try brushing your cat's teeth instead and you might be able to avoid having regular dentals. Having said that, I wouldn't hesitate to let my cat have a dental if the vet said it was needed as it is a minor procedure and the risks are minimal. I agree with having pre-anaesthetic bloods done too, esp in older cats.
post #13 of 18
It is very rare to lose a cat from a dental cleaning but I do feel that it is stressful for the cat. I have seen what anesthesia has done to my Spotty, and he develops tarter build up very quickly. He gets disoriented and his behavior is strange ranging from trusting me to not trusting me to downright growling at me. The smell of the anesthesia makes my other cat Rosie not recognize Spotty and she growls at him and when I separate the cats by putting Spotty in my bedroom until he recovers, Rosie hangs by the bedroom door as if she really wants to get a chance to beat him up. For this reason I loathe dental cleanings. So I do them only when necessary. A little tarter is not reason enough for a dental cleaning. Between moderate and severe tarter or gingivitis is reason to get it done. Fortunately we've been putting some anti-inflammatory medicine on his gums and using this product www.oravet.com once per week. Hopefully that will lengthen the time between dental cleanings. Rosie, the lucky girl has such good genetics, she hasn't needed a dental cleaning once so far which is good because this girl is not cooperative at all about having her mouth opened. She runs away even when we try to brush her fur, good luck getting her to let us do anything to her teeth and gums, seems impossible. Spotty is more passive, he doesn't really like having the Q-tip swab the oravet on his teeth but he gets rewarded with hugs and he loves to be smothered with affection. The anti-inflammatory medicine which we quickly dab on this teeth and gums is easier to apply but I have my boyfriend hold him while I'm applying it and he is getting hugged in the process so amazingly he's learning to associate this with the reward of affection.
post #14 of 18
What's been stated, and I feel the need to restate so you understand, it's not that the cat's been given too much anesthetic, it's a reaction they may possibly have TO the anesthetic due to underlying health issues that were not known about. This is the reason for the forms. It's not that the vet isn't doing their job properly, or that they're careless, it's that anesthesia IS risky, and circumstances vary for every animal.

Did you know Newfoundland dogs have a genetic sensitivity to anethesia? Putting a Newf under for any reason is a big risk, as you don't know if your dog is safe or not. But Newf owners must make that decision when they choose to spay/neuter or when they need other essential surgeries. They cannot then turn around and sue the vet if their dog dies on the table, when they know they have a breed that carries this inherrent risk.

Honestly, putting your cats under that often for something so preventable as dental work seems silly to me. Take the innitiative yourself, keep their teeth clean, and then you don't need to take the risk in the first place.
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by vanillasugar View Post
What's been stated, and I feel the need to restate so you understand, it's not that the cat's been given too much anesthetic, it's a reaction they may possibly have TO the anesthetic due to underlying health issues that were not known about. This is the reason for the forms. It's not that the vet isn't doing their job properly, or that they're careless, it's that anesthesia IS risky, and circumstances vary for every animal.

Did you know Newfoundland dogs have a genetic sensitivity to anethesia? Putting a Newf under for any reason is a big risk, as you don't know if your dog is safe or not. But Newf owners must make that decision when they choose to spay/neuter or when they need other essential surgeries. They cannot then turn around and sue the vet if their dog dies on the table, when they know they have a breed that carries this inherrent risk.

Honestly, putting your cats under that often for something so preventable as dental work seems silly to me. Take the innitiative yourself, keep their teeth clean, and then you don't need to take the risk in the first place.
But many cats don't allow their owners to brush their teeth. Cats are often not very cooperative about it. It's very rare to lose an animal to this. I don't believe we are seriously risking a cat's life by having a once in a while dental cleaning. I don't do it every year but if the tarter builds up significantly it has to be done.

I agree that if a cat is cooperative about home dental care that should be done to lengthen the time between cleanings.
post #16 of 18
You dont have to physically brush their teeth though, you can use Logic Gel and Plaque Off (not that I have room to talk, I kept forgetting the Logic Gel!!), and I personally wouldn't put any of my cats under just for a dental cleaning, mine are all oldies, so i wouldn't take the risk for anything other than necessary surgery.
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by OrangezMama View Post
Yes even humans are put on risks when they are under anesthesia....Only thing difference tho, a very unfair difference is that they are NOT asked to sign any "It's not our fault you couldn't handle the overdosed medicine I put in ya, so rest in piece see ya wouldn't wanna be ya " type of form.. You know?

I would think America would actually care for its animals equally the same as humans
Actually, I have had to sign a liability waiver every single time that I had surgery in which general anesthesia was used, stating that I understood the risks, which included death.

Therefore, they DO treat animals the same as they do for humans, at least as far as stated anesthetic risk is concerned.
post #18 of 18
I've had Spotty's teeth cleaned twice and I never had to sign this form. The only form I signed was that if they should have to pull teeth, that I would be okay with it. That's all I had to sign. Fortunately they did not have to pull any of Spotty's teeth.

I have relatively young cats and they're in good health. If my cats were elderly than I probably wouldn't do it, depends though. But I really think there are plenty of safety measures involved, blood work for one, and my vet monitors the process to ensure the cat recovers safely from the anesthesia.

I'm just not going to go to the opposite extreme of never doing it, or believing we're at a significant risk for killing our cats under anesthesia. I believe it is generally safe except in the case of very old or very sick cats(in this case I wouldn't do it). A cat that isn't cooperative about home dental care needs a dental cleaning done by a vet sometimes or else the gums and teeth will just get more diseased. Rosie is the cat that won't tolerate home dental care and while we've been lucky so far, she has good genes and hasn't needed a cleaning yet, I won't be surprised if sometime during her lifetime she will need it. Spotty is getting the oravet wax applied to his teeth once a week and some anti-inflammatory medicine for his gums so hopefully this will stretch out the time between cleanings since he has already had cleanings twice between now and early 2003 when I adopted him.
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