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Grey and white medium hair cat

Anesthesiology at theVSCAN

When it comes down to anesthesia, every patient has a different need based on the breed, size, age, temperament, and type of procedure. Modern anesthetic equipment and drugs are much safer but there is always an anesthetic risk even if the pet is young and in good health.

Dr. Stefania Grasso, our board certified veterinary anesthesiologist, supervises all of the anesthetic procedures that we perform. Dr. Grasso designs and tailors the protocols for each patient and takes care of the overall peri-anesthetic management. If the patient is experiencing any pain, or is undergoing a surgical procedure, Dr. Grasso manages the pain with different analgesics to increase the patient’s comfort. A successful anesthetic outcome does not include only choosing the right drugs for the patient but also monitoring vital functions, interpreting the animal's response, and quickly intervening when problems arise.


In addition to providing anesthesia for patients at the VSCAN, Dr. Grasso operates a mobile veterinary anesthesia service providing world class anesthesia support, training, and on-site anesthesia for many hospitals in the Ottawa region. Click on the button to learn more about anesthesia services. 

What is a veterinary anesthesiologist? (also called anesthesia specialist, diplomate or board certified)

A veterinary anesthesiologist is a doctor who is specialized in providing the highest possible anesthetic care. To learn more visit: 

General anesthesia

In order to obtain clear images when we perform a CT or a MRI we need the animal to stay still, as movement will make the interpretation and the final diagnosis impossible. For this reason, the animal needs to be under general anesthesia for the entire procedure. Usually a sedative is given first to reduce the stress and the state of unconsciousness is induced with injectable anesthetics. The patient is then maintained with inhaled anesthetics that the animal will breathe thanks to a tube inserted in the trachea. When under general anesthesia the animal will also breathe oxygen to prevent low oxygen levels in the blood (hypoxemia) due to anesthetics-induced respiratory depression. Furthermore, fluids are administered intravenously to counteract any fluid loss and the negative effects of the anesthetics on the cardiovascular system. Sometimes if the animal is young and healthy we may decide to perform the CT procedure under “deep sedation” rather than general anesthesia since the scans are very fast. 


During the procedure, the vital parameters of the animal and the depth of the anesthesia are constantly monitored. We are equipped with state-of-the-art anesthetic monitoring equipment, very similar to the ones used in human anesthesia. Our equipment allows us to check major bodily functions (heart rate, respiration, arterial blood pressure, temperature, carbon dioxide and oxygen levels) and be able to quickly react if there is a problem. 
If you are concerned about your pet undergoing general anesthesia ask to talk to our veterinary anesthesiologist to obtain more information. 


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