Anesthesia Sensitivity in Dogs and Proper Medications

Anesthesia Sensitivity in Dogs

Anesthesia, is certainly a basic requirement that finds its application among our pets as same as like us during their surgery. Many dog owners are worried about the veterinary procedure that takes part in a surgery and the right time at when their dogs need to be anesthetized. Basically, there are two kinds of anesthesia, ‘local’ and ‘general’. The local anesthesia is the one that is being used to numb a specific area of a body, whereas, general anesthesia is the kind that renders the patient the feel of unconsciousness.

Many pet owners are fearful of the after effect precipitate of surgery to perceive whether their dogs are sensitive towards anesthesia. In real anesthesia, sensitivity in dogs is very rare and it’s simply not true except for one breed, the Greyhound.

The misconception about anesthesia sensitivity

The two main facts for the misconception that all dog breeds are sensitive towards anesthesia are because of:

  1. Barbiturates, a drug widely used in veterinary offices as an anesthetic before the year 2000:
    Barbiturates is a kind of drug which was used in early years; it produces a wide spectrum of effects from mild sedation to total anesthesia. Before the year 2000, pets that undergo any surgery were only given this drug instead of anesthesia. After surgery, the recovery of this drug was too slow and the effects of them last much longer. This was certainly because barbiturates needs to move into the fat of the animal, where it could be then metabolized. This recovery process is even more slow for the low fat animals than the other breeds.
    The pet owners with pets that had surgery in early years have spread this misconception of anesthesia sensitivity all over the globe.
  2. Veterinary uses medicines of different types:
    A wide variety of medicines are available in the market for anesthesia. The most interesting part here is that, among those medicines only few are of high quality and a greater portion of the other medicines are cheaper with only low effect. Since few vets use these sub-standard products, it further leads to arise many after effects (severe problems) for our beloved pets. Moreover, if the problem exists for a longer period of time, the vet easily blames the pet owners about their dog’s sensitiveness towards anesthesia and certainly without any other choice, the pet owners have to believe the words of the vet.

Breeds that might be sensitive to anesthesia


Though its clear that sensitivity to anesthesia in dogs doesn’t exist for a longer time. Yet, there is one breed that is very sensitive to anesthesia.

The Greyhound is certainly one breed that is very sensitive towards anesthesia unlike the sensitiveness of other breeds towards anesthesia. These breeds are very sensitive to the medicines, because they don’t have an enzyme (Cytochrome p450) that makes the body to process anesthesia properly. Greyhounds are susceptible to hypothermia when they are under anesthesia, so they must be placed on a safe heat source while undergoing any procedure of anesthetized.

Giving anesthesia to small breeds such as Bichon fries, Bolognese, Dachshund, etc is a difficult task because their blood vessels are small like them, so proper placement of catheter IV will be more difficult to find out.

How to deal with Anesthesia and Dogs

Before taking our dog to anesthesia, make sure that the veterinarian knows the complete history of our dog. And if our dog needs a surgery with anesthesia, always make sure that we work with a vet who has been certified by the board of veterinarians.

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