Signs of an Emergency During Canine Hip Surgery

If you have a large dog breed such as a Saint Bernard, Newfoundland, Great Pyrenees, or Great Dane, then you may know that it may be prone to a debilitating condition known as hip dysplasia. While this condition can affect all sizes of dogs, it is more common in large breeds.

Surgery is often an effective option, however, canine hip surgery can be risky for the animal. Fortunately, veterinary anesthesia systems can deliver the precise amount of anesthesia so that the risk for anesthesia-related complicates decrease, however, they can still arise during the procedure. Here are some signs of an emergency during canine hip surgery and how veterinary anesthesia systems can alert the doctor to subtle signs of an emergent situation:

Low Blood Pressure

Just like humans, dogs can develop dangerous hypotension or low blood pressure. Fortunately, the careful monitoring of the animal's vital signs by veterinary anesthesia systems can alert the veterinarian to the first signs of a medical emergency.

If the monitor displays a low or dangerous blood pressure, interventions can quickly be implemented to help raise the blood pressure so that optimal circulation can be re-established. These interventions may be the introduction of intravenous medications or fluids, or even changing the position of the dog to better facilitate a normal blood pressure. 

Low Oxygen Level

During surgery, it is essential that your dog's respiratory function be monitored continuously. A medical device known as a pulse oximeter is used during veterinary surgery to assess the oxygen saturation level. This level provides crucial information to the veterinary anesthesiologist about the canine's respiratory status. If the oxygen saturation level becomes abnormal, interventions such as adjusting the oxygen rate can be quickly implemented.

Fortunately, veterinary anesthesia systems can alert the veterinary staff to many emergency situations during a canine hip surgical procedure. These emergency situations include hypoxia, or lack of oxygen to the brain, airway obstruction, and excessive pulmonary pressure. The anesthesia system can usually detect these problems even before they progress to emergencies. While the veterinary staff closely monitors the display screen for any changes in the patient's medical status, they can also rest assured that an alarm will sound at the first sign of an abnormality. 

Cardiac Arrhythmia

Like people, dogs, and other animals can develop cardiac arrhythmias during surgical procedures. Not only can a cardiac arrhythmia develop during major surgeries such as orthopedic surgeries, but they can also occur during the most minor procedures. 

Cardiac arrhythmia refers to an abnormal in the animal's heart rhythm. While some cardiac arrhythmias are not serious, others such as ventricular tachycardia can lead to life-threatening situations. It is crucial for the veterinary staff to be alerted at the first sign of a cardiac abnormality, and while the veterinary staff monitors the rate and rhythm of the canine patient's heart by stethoscope auscultation, cardiac function is also monitored by the anesthesia machine and other monitors used in veterinary surgical practices.

If a cardiac abnormality is discovered during your dog's hip surgery, medications can be given intravenously to either make the heart contractions stronger, slow the heart rate, or in the case of bradycardia, interventions will be implemented to help speed up the heart rate. 

If your dog is facing hip surgery, talk to the veterinarian about the risks and benefits and how to care for your pet during the post-operative period. While canine surgery is considered major surgery, you can rest assured that the veterinary staff, with the assistance of a state-of-the-art anesthesia system, will be monitoring your pet's health status every second of the way. When your dog's surgery is uneventful and uncomplicated, it will have a better chance of enjoying a complication-free recovery period once it returns home.