We do many procedures under general anaesthetic (GA) in veterinary practice. Things that can be done under local anaesthetic or without any sort of sedation at all in human practice are not feasible in animals without a GA. For example, X-Rays and dental scaling and polishing require the patient to be absolutely still for a period of time, and although cats are perfectly capable of remaining motionless for extended periods, it is not usually when we want them to! A cat that needs to have a GA will need to be fasted for up to 12 hours beforehand- we usually recommend that your cat have its dinner the night before, then at approximately 8pm all food is removed (but ensure fresh water is available). Your cat should be confined entirely indoors until their appointment the following morning. At the appointment, the vet will check Puss over, and discuss the procedure with you. You will need to read and sign an Anaesthetic Consent Form.
The initial sedation is administered by an injection, then for all but the briefest procedures your cat will have a tube placed in the trachea (windpipe) for the rest of the GA. This allows a safe, easily monitored and smooth anaesthetic. In many patients it is recommended to have a Pre-Anaesthetic Screen (PAS) before the GA (see Pathologist), and it is usually advisable to have intravenous fluids (a ‘drip’) for all but the shortest surgeries, as it is in humans. We monitor anaesthetics carefully, checking 8 parameters at least every 5 minutes. We have different anaesthetic gases that can be used in different circumstances. Please ask us if you have any concerns about anaesthetizing your cat.