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AAHA Releases Anesthesia Guidelines


The American Animal Hospital Association stressed the importance of comprehensive, individualized anesthetic plans to minimize perioperative morbidity and optimize perioperative conditions in its new guidelines for anesthetizing dogs and cats.

AAHA convened a task force of experts for the express purpose of producing the guidelines, which include recommendations for preanesthetic patient evaluation and examination; selection of premedication, induction and maintenance drugs; monitoring, equipment, and recovery. The guidelines are not intended to establish a universal anesthetic plan or legal standard of care.

The guidelines broach areas of controversy such as the administration of certain perianesthetic drugs. The authors say there is no evidence to show that acepromazine increases the risk of seizures in epileptic patients or patients with other seizure disorders. The authors also advise that the use of anticholinergic drug drugs, such as atropine and glycopyrrolate, should be based on individual patient risk factors and monitored parameters such as heart rate and blood pressure.

Members of the task force that created the guidelines include:

  • Richard Bednarski, M.S., DVM, D.A.C.V.A. (Chair);
  • Kurt Grimm, DVM, M.S., Ph.D., D.A.C.V.A., D.A.C.V.C.P.;
  • Ralph Harvey, DVM, M.S., D.A.C.V.A.; Victoria Lukasik, DVM, D.A.C.V.A.;
  • Sean Penn, DVM, D.A.B.V.P. (Canine/Feline);
  • Brett Sargent, DVM, D.A.B.V.P. (Canine/Feline);
  • Kim Spelts, C.V.T., V.T.S., C.C.R.P. (Anesthesia)

The guidelines appear on the AAHA website and in the Nov.-Dec. issue of the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association.

To read more on anesthesia, click here.

To watch a video of the anesthesia guidelines in action at Newport Harbor Animal Hospital, click here.

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