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Anesthesia and Hypothermia

Research Shows that over 80% of dogs suffer from hypothermia during and after anethesia.

April 21, 2013 4:00 PM

The research team from the Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera in Valencia, Spain published in Veterinary Record the first global study that clinically documents the prevalence of hypothermia in dogs after surgery and after diagnostic tests that require anaesthetic. The study, directed by Professor José Ignacio Redondo, found that 83.6% of the 1,525 dogs studied presented this complication, whereas in humans this percentage is between 30 and 60% of cases.

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More From the Study

The study show that hypothermia is the most common anaesthetic complication in dogs, even more than in human anaesthesiology. Therefore, the valencian researchers believe that temperature should be continuously monitored and vets should take preventive measures to avoid heat loss during procedures.

To reduce chances of hypothermia and complications associated with it, the researchers say it is important to prevent heat loss in these animals before starting veterinary interventions. Such prevention is particularly important in the case of dogs showing higher percentages of hypothermia, according to the study: smaller dogs and those undergoing thoracic surgery or diagnostic procedures requiring prolonged anaesthetic.

Hypothermia in dogs is a body temperature below 99 degrees Fahrenheit. It can lead to many harmful consequences, leaves the dog more vulnerable to infections and also slows healing time.

What can you do to help your dog if going in for anethesia? First off, knowing your vet well and building a long-standing relationship of clear communication and respect goes a long way in caring for your pet over the course of his/her life. If you have built this relationship, then it makes everyting much easier for everyone.

In the case of taking your dog in for any proceedure requiring anesthesia, you might ask the following questions: Has your entire staff been trained on the ways that hypothermia can occur with anethesia? Do you support the patient with heating pads, blankets and other warming techniques before, during and after surgery? Do you monitor the temperature of the iv fluids? You can also ask what other techniques are used. It is your right to insure the safety of your pet when going in for any proceedure and a good vetinarian will welcome your questions.

Story Source: The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Asociación RUVID, via AlphaGalileo.

Journal Reference: J. I. Redondo, P. Suesta, I. Serra, C. Soler, G. Soler, L. Gil, R. J. Gomez-Villamandos. Retrospective study of the prevalence of postanaesthetic hypothermia in dogs. Veterinary Record, 2012; 171 (15): 374 DOI: 10.1136/vr.100476

Overweight Dogs

Studies show that over 50% of American dogs are overweight. This is very serious news. First, having a lean dog can increase his/her life expectancy by 2.5 years, which is a substantial amount of time for you and your dog. But the main fact is, obesity can lead to many diseases and structural complications. Not only is loss of years of life a factor, but loss of quality of life for your dog and loss of dollars for you in terms of vet bills.

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More on Canine Obesity

Remember that weight is very relative. Two-four extra pounds for a small dog can relate to 15-30 extra pounds for a human. It doesn't take much extra weight in a dog for them to be obese. We may think it looks cute when poochie waddles across the living room floor, but the concequences are far from cute: joint disease, cardiovascular disease, pancreatitis, diabetes, respiratory problems, and many other health issues.

From the Huffington Post, "A number of pet owners have been accused of animal cruelty for starving a pet, such as the recent arrest of a woman from Queens whose pit bull weighed just 18 pounds. But it's only recently that overfeeding a pet has been considered perhaps animal cruelty as well. In what was deemed one of the first cases of it's kind, David and Derek Benton were convicted in 2007 for animal cruelty after they allowed their dog Rusty to become grossly overweight. The Labrador was twice the normal weight for a dog of his breed, suffered from painful joints and breathing problems, and struggled to stand up."

How do you tell if your dog is overweight?. First look at the dog from the top. A healthy dog should have a waist-line just below his/her ribs. When you touch the dog, you should be able to feel a very thin layer of fat between the skin and the bones. If you cannot feel the ribs, you have an obese dog.

So, do you put your dog on a diet? Well, several things will help. First, more exercise. There are many fun ways to exercise your dog. Check our lifestyle section for ideas.

Second, do not over-treat your dog. Treating your dog can be fun, especially for kids, but your pooch pays the price. The amount of treats given each day should be subtracted from the recommended portion of food you are feeding.

Third, cut back on the amount of food you are giving. Your vet can guide you if you are unsure of the amount to cut back. However, a safe general rule of thumb would be to subtract the treats given and then cut back 10-15% of the regular amount for 6 weeks and then evaluate the effectiveness.

In addition, do not give in. Even if your dog begs or whines for more, stay firm. A healthy rate of weight loss for a dog is 1-2% of body weight each week. Diet dog foods and low calerie treats are another option to try.

Also beware, if your dog is overweight or not lossing weight despite your diet and exercise efforts, the underlying reason could be medical. Before starting any diet regiem with your dog, it is always best to see your vetinarian first for a good physical. Your vet will also be able to make more personalized diet and exercise suggestions that are taylored just for you and your dog, taking into consideration the breed, age and general health of your best furry friend.

Are Certain Dog Breeds Considered Hypoallergenic?

No, all dogs have the dog allergen, KNF1, a protein. Some dog breeds do shed less than others, which can somewhat reduce the spread of the allergen, but the KNF1 is still present in the hair, dander, dead skin cells, and saliva.

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What can be done?

If you find a dog that has low levels of KNF1, then an allergic person, especially if their allergy is not severe, might tolerate that particular dog. However, the problem is that the person may tolerate the allergen for a time and then suddenly, symptoms can present, so there is no guarantee.

You can do a series of allergy immuno-therapy injections in order to build up a resistance to the allergen, but there should not be any dogs in the home if this therapy is chosen. This is because the person getting the therapy is being exposed to minute doses of the KNF1 and if a dog is in the home, they are already getting exposed to much bigger levels so the therapy is not effective. Therefore, the therapy works best if you plan ahead to do the therapy 1-2 years before getting the dog.

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