Veterinary Anesthesia & Pain Relief: Safe, Effective & Compassionate
Red Bank Veterinary Hospital is pleased to offer dedicated specialists in anesthesiology and pain management for the comfort and safety of our patients. Our veterinarians work together, designing a personalized plan to address the unique needs of each patient.
We generally consider pain to be a bad thing; after all, it hurts and can cause our pets to resist participating in normal behaviors. However, pain can be beneficial. For example, if an animal hurts his leg, pain will make him stop using it. This protective mechanism allows the injury to heal without further damage. Noticing an animal’s pain allows us to identify an injury and treat it.
We use pain medications, or analgesics, to treat pain as part of the therapeutic plan. In many patients, these medications are required for a limited amount of time, often only one or two weeks. Sometimes, though, the pain response can persist and become exaggerated, resulting in excessive pain.
Pain can be classified in a number of different ways:
Occurs immediately after an injury or surgery and can be mild to severe. There are a number of ways this can be treated, and the pain generally goes away once the injury or surgical site has healed. The duration of acute pain is usually less than a few weeks.
Can last a long time, persisting after the initial cause is eliminated. It can also be caused by diseases, like arthritis, that cannot be repaired. Chronic pain can be debilitating for a patient and affects quality of life. Management is an ongoing process, and may require long-term therapy.
Is another classification of pain, which, similar to chronic pain, can persist for long periods of time, even after there is no obvious cause for the pain. The nerves and organs involved in the pain response behave abnormally. This results in pain from stimuli-touch, pressure, and changes in temperature, actions normally not painful for the patient. Like chronic pain, neuropathic pain can require long-term therapy.
Pet Pain Management
Pain management for humans is not a new concept. Pain is just as significant and common in pets as it is in people. Dogs and cats are very adept at hiding pain and discovering the cause and how to help can be complicated. Our team of dedicated veterinarians and technicians are skilled at interpreting the physical signs of pain and approaching your pet’s comfort with highest standard of care.
Addressing Pet Pain
Our anesthesiologists work with specialists to localize and identify pet pain, using physical and diagnostic tests. Once we discover the cause, we create a unique muti-modal pain management plan for your pet. Pain management improves the recovery process from illness, surgery, injury, and chronic pain conditions. We aggressively address your pet’s pain with pharmaceutical therapies, physical medicine, and techniques in physical rehabilitation to offer your pet the best chance to regain original mobility and function.
Cases that may benefit from consultation and evaluation by our board certified anesthesiologists include:
- Procedures associated with moderate to severe acute pain
- Patients with osteoarthritis that are no longer comfortable with NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents) alone
- Neuropathic pain resulting in over-sensitivity to non-painful stimuli
- Pain no longer responding to routine analgesic therapy
- Chronic back pain
- Pain associated with cancer
Pain management is especially important during surgical procedures. To learn about the different types of anesthesia, how we monitor patients under anesthesia, and the types of anesthesia services we offer, download our Understanding Anesthesia brochure.
Pharmacologic, physical, neutraceutical, environmental, and other complementary therapies are essential to our practice of pain management. We are especially adept at treating the discomfort associated with chronic conditions and cancer. In addition to providing pain management consults, our anesthesiologists offer direct anesthetic management for patients undergoing anesthesia, continuing education lectures, and consultations for both owners and referring veterinarians. You may also download our Evaluating & Managing Your Pet's Pain brochure.
Learn More About Veterinary Anesthesiologists
Veterinary Anesthesiologists Keep Pets Safe
Prior to a procedure, our anesthesiologists perform a thorough exam, paying special attention to the heart and lungs. They also order medications and plan techniques for safe and effective anesthesia and pain relief throughout the procedure.
While under anesthesia, the patient’s vital signs are continuously monitored. This allows the anesthesiologist to identify abnormalities, should they occur, and intervene quickly. Monitoring of the heart, lung function, and comfort level continues during recovery. A happy, pain-free patient will be relaxed, calm, and have normal heart and respiratory rates, often sleeping quietly after anesthesia.
In addition to direct patient care, anesthesiologists oversee and direct other members of our surgical team. This includes veterinary technicians assisting in surgery and recovery and those caring for surgical patients once they are moved into general patient wards.
Anesthesiologists work with patients undergoing surgery as well as those living with acute and chronic pain. Pets with chronic pain, such as arthritis, present a unique challenge. In cases where a cure is not possible, the goal is to manage the pet’s pain to ensure good quality of life. Chronic conditions require ongoing treatments, and there are a variety of medications and therapies to comfort these pets.
What is a Board Certified Veterinary Anesthesiologist?
Board certified veterinary anesthesiologists are specialists who focus on providing safe, optimal anesthesia specifically tailored to an individual pet. They are trained to anticipate, recognize, and care for any concerns associated with anesthesia.
In addition to undergraduate training and four years of veterinary school, board certified anesthesiologists complete an internship and residency in their specialized field (an additional three to five years). This is followed by a rigorous examination to achieve board certification status from the American College of Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia (ACVAA). Passing this examination grants the status of Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia (DACVAA).