Pre-Anesthetic Blood Testing Is Crucial for Dogs

Blood tests before surgery can prevent permanent damage to your dog’s kidneys.


Q. My cousin has a 2-year-old Doberman Pinscher who was healthy until he had a tumor removed from his paw. A few days after the surgery, the dog began vomiting after he ate and was also drinking a lot of water. After a few tests, they determined that he either had kidney disease or his kidneys were just failing. The vet said the anesthesia used for the surgery could have caused the problem. I don’t understand how a 120-pound Doberman can go from perfectly healthy to almost dead in a few days. Can this happen or do you think maybe the vet could have made a mistake during surgery? Not that we would want to blame him—he has been their vet for many years— but something’s just not right.

A. It would be upsetting and concerning to find out your 2-year-old dog was in kidney failure soon after having an anesthetic procedure. This is a tough situation, and the key questions that come to mind are whether your cousin’s Doberman had an existing kidney condition or if it could have been caused by anesthesia.

The first part of this question can be answered with pre-anesthetic testing, which all veterinarians should offer and require prior to administering general anesthesia. Sometimes this recommendation is bypassed with younger dogs, but in a case like this, the outcome can be tragic. If a dog’s kidneys are already compromised (if, for instance, he was born with a genetic defect), an anesthetic episode can push the kidneys into failure. Blood testing before the procedure allows the vet to take steps to protect the kidneys.

On the other hand, if a dog has properly functioning kidneys, and blood tests confirm they’re working well, kidney failure may occur in response to lapses in anesthetic monitoring, such as not giving fluids during surgery, not monitoring blood pressure, or keeping the anesthetic gas at too high a level, causing low blood pressure.

The kidneys are extremely sensitive to low blood pressure, and extended periods of time with low blood pressure can cause permanent damage.

In your cousin's situation, she should confirm whether the kidneys were tested prior to surgery. She may want to ask if there were any complications during the procedure. At this point, there may not be many treatment options to restore the Doberman's kidney function other than hospitalization and intravenous fluids, which may only provide temporary improvement.

Other dog owners should always ask about pre-anesthetic testing prior to general anesthesia, and confirm that the blood pressure will be carefully monitored during surgery, and that intravenous fluids will be given to help maintain good pressures.


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heidi   Eden, Utah

8/22/2014 6:10:39 AM

my dog passed away when i came to pick her up. The vet didnt even know at the time and told me i could go in the back to grab her. I had a melt down right then and there.

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Daisy   Studio City, California

7/13/2014 5:32:37 PM

A vet "should" do a lot of things. Vets always say "we will monitor her during the ............. " Will the vet monitor her or one of the vet's lackys? Is the "staff" fully trained and fully capable of monitoring your pet correctly? In over 80% of the vet clinics in Amerika, they are not! Vets don't hire the best, they hire the cheapest. And you and your pet will pay dearly for this!

If anything happens to your pet during whatever, the vet will come up with all sorts of excuses, and will refuse to accept responibility for anything! Amerika is a socialist country now and that's how these people think.

Vets today are NOT your friend. They do NOT care for your pet's health like they say. They want to make as much money as they can without doing much work. They lie to customers, over-charge customers, lie about your pet. Vets today will only do what is easiest for them to do for your pet. The hard stuff is something a good vet did yesterday. But not today.

Their websites are poorly designed and most don't even work properly. They could care less. They don't reply to emails. Some clinics have so many staff running around doing nothing, but don't have time to reply to your email.

Why do you think Amerika is waist deep in vets but only ankle deep in GOOD vets? Poor education, cheap vet schools, and stupid pet owners.

Take your pet and relocate to another country. The US will now screw you as fast as it can. The small area in which I live has 9 vets. NINE! NONE OF THEM ARE WORTH A DAMN. More complainst against them that most of them should have their license to practice yanked.

If they end up killing your dog, retaliate. An eye for an eye. They won't report anything because they don't want bad news to appear in print or on TV. Don't worry about it. If you didn't stand up for you dog when he was alive, stand up for him now. You now have nothing to

Good luck!

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Karen   Wetfield, Massachusetts

8/19/2013 3:13:11 PM

My dog died 7 days after having eye surgery. His blood tests were good on April 17,13. Surgery was on May 16, 13 and suddenly he became very ill, was hospitalized and died on May 22nd, 7 days later. They said it was his liver. Should they have done more blood-work immediately before surgery to check for changes? I feel like this was a wrongful death. I am not going to give up investigating this. Drugs, vaccinations and anesthesia are all poison!! More awareness of holistic animal care needs to be educated to the public. Most vets today are only out to make money. I am severely depressed since I lost my precious dog that I loved and cherished. How can we begin to spread the word on improper care. Is anyone with me on this fight?

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Eileen - 249708   Port Perry, ON

4/9/2013 3:21:02 AM

I know that anaesthetic is used when a dog gets their teeth cleaned. Should the pre blood testing be done at this time also?

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