Posted on: 13 June 2017Share
Humans are monitored in several ways when they are having surgery. It prevents them from dying on the surgical table. The same holds true for your pets. Veterinary patient monitors, while vastly different from human ones, essentially do some of the same things as the human patient monitors. Here is how your vet makes sure your pet survives surgery.
Animals, given their vast differences, need to have their hearts monitored differently. With cats and dogs, a small stick-on monitor on the animal's chest sends regular signals to a heart monitor machine. For larger animals, such as horses, the heart is more easily monitored via a stethoscope and a hand on the chest to feel for beats. On really tiny pets, tiny bands wrap around the animal's upper torso and chest. All stick-on and wraparound monitors have wires that catch heartbeat signs and then send signals to the machines.
Respirations are monitored via the rise and fall of the chest. They can also be monitored if the animal is large enough for an anesthesia nose cone. As the animal breathes in the anesthesia through the nose cone, its breath fogs the nose cone. Then the vet watches for a lack of breath fogging the cone. A band wrapped around the chest and connected to a monitor can help if the vet is alone and performing surgery or if the animal has a known history of apnea (absence of breathing episodes).
Blood Pressure Monitors
Pets who are having major invasive surgery due to bowel obstructions, twisted uteri, fetal distress, etc., all have to be hooked up to a blood pressure monitor. This monitor makes sure that any heavy bleeding your pet experiences during surgery does not affect the pressure and beats of the heart. If the blood pressure drops, it means your pet is in distress and/or there is too much blood loss. The vet then has to scramble to find the major bleeding and sew it up and find a way to restore blood pressure with a transfusion. Thankfully, it is rare for any pet to go into distress, but the blood pressure monitor is still there just in case.
Hundreds of Surgeries a Year
Most veterinarians perform hundreds of surgeries every year. They almost never lose a patient unless the patient has come to the clinic too late to be helped. That said, knowing what you know now about all of the monitors and the risks, your pet is in good hands regardless of a routine or not-so-routine surgery.