Warning: Anesthesia Alert for Wheatens

Posted by Toni Bolognia on November 30, 2010.

Please call this information to the attention of your veterinarian:

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier may react adversely to some anesthetics in the same manner as sight hounds. The following is a protocol recommended by practitioners experienced with the breed:

  1. Pre-operative tranquilization with Acepromazine and Atropine. (Some veterinarians may choose not to use Acepromazine.)
  2. Induction with a combination of Ketamine and Diazepam (Valium) administered intravenously.
  3. Maintenance of anesthesia with Isofluorane and Oxygen.

Many veterinarians already employ this protocol or a variation of it. The problem the breed seems to have is with the short-acting barbiturates which, in the past, were the most commonly used drugs for induction of anesthesia. Most veterinarians use gas anesthesia and, in order to use it, they need to place a tube (called an endotracheal tube) in the dog's throat. This cannot be done with the dog fully conscious. Therefore, the veterinarian will administer, usually intravenously, an induction drug to facilitate the process. Once the tube is in place, the dog can be hooked up to the gas anesthesia machine.

Isofluorane is more expensive than some other gas anesthetics, but, due to its high level of safety and quick recovery time, is fast becoming the anesthetic gas of choice for many veterinarians. Some veterinarians use several different types of anesthetic gases in their practice and may reserve Isofluorane only for patients at high anesthetic risk. Since what problems there have been in Wheatens seem related to the drugs used for induction rather than maintenance, the choice of the gas anesthetic agent may not be as critical.

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