Greyhounds and Anesthesia

 

This packet is made available through Greyhound Adoption of Ohio, Inc. by William E. Feeman III, DVM

 

Some veterinarians and some Greyhound rescue groups make specific recommendations in regards to a “Greyhound anesthetic protocol” because they believe a specific drug is safer than another. In my opinion, any drug is only safe if the person using it is comfortable with it. A number of anesthetics are suitable to be used in Greyhounds and depending on which your veterinarian is most familiar with will dictate which would be the safest. No specific protocol will be cited in this packet; however, some general guidelines will be listed to help reduce the risk associated with anesthesia.

 

1. Never use thiobarbiturate anesthetics in Greyhounds. Never never never! Oh yeah and did I say never? Some specialists believe that a one time only dose of a thiobarbituate in a Greyhound is acceptable; however, there are many other safer options!

 

2. Premedications: these medications provide sedation, analgesia (pain relieving properties) and allow a lower dose of an anesthetic to be used. The most commonly used premedications include sedatives (Acepromazine, Medetomidine), opioids (Torbugesic, Butorphonal, Buprenorphine, Morphine, etc.) and anti-cholinergics (atropine and glycopyrollate). The anti-cholinergics provide cardiovascular support. These medications may be used in various combinations. Caution should be used when dosing Greyhounds with the premedication Acepromazine as they can be more sensitive to their effects and typically require lower dosing.

 

3. Induction agents: Telazol, Propofol and Ketamine/Valium are all perfectly appropriate anesthetics for Greyhounds. I would recommend using whichever your veterinarian is most familiar with… just remember no thiobarbiturates (Thiopenthol).

 

4. Gas anesthesia: Isoflurane and Sevoflurane are both perfectly acceptable and there is no significant clinical difference between the two in their use in general practice.

 

5. Intravenous catheters: it is always a good idea to have an intravenous catheter placed for surgery. This gives the surgeon instant venous access in case of an emergency and allows your Greyhound to receive fluids during surgery which help in maintaining normal blood flow and blood pressure.

 

6. Presurgical bloodwork: it is always a good idea to have presurgical bloodwork done. The bloodwork allows for a quick check of liver and kidney functions among other things which may influence which anesthetics are used or if surgery should even be performed. The bloodwork should ideally be drawn within four weeks of the anesthetic event.

 

7. Temperatures: ask to have your Greyhound’s temperature monitored periodically during and after surgery. In rare instances, Greyhounds have been known to have a reaction to an anesthetic or muscle fasciculations which allowed their body temperatures to climb in excess of 106 degrees. Monitoring of the patient allows for quick recognition and treatment of this problem.

 

8. Drug Metabolism: Greyhounds have lower concentrations of the drug metabolizing enzyme hepatic cytochrome P-450 (CYP) in the liver, which can cause an erratic metabolism of certain medications. This is of importance with anesthesia as a patient taking a medication that is metabolized by CYP enzymes may take longer to recover from it. For example, a Greyhound receiving the antibiotic Chloramphenicol may take hours instead of minutes to recover from the anesthetic Propofol.

 

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