Today's Veterinary Practice

SEP-OCT 2018

Today's Veterinary Practice provides comprehensive information to keep every small animal practitioner up to date on companion animal medicine and surgery as well as practice building and management.

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FEATURES todaysveterinarypractice.com SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2018 17 Sedation for Cats with Cardiovascular Disease FELINE MEDICINE Ashley Wiese, DVM, MS, DACVAA Regional Medical Director, MedVet Medical & Cancer Centers for Pets, Fairfax, Ohio Cats represent a large part of the US pet population; as of 2012, the approximately 74.1 million cats outnumbered the approximately 69.9 million dogs in this country. Although these numbers represent an overall decline in dog and cat populations, the proportion of cats that are mature (>7 years old) or geriatric (>11 years old) has increased to the point that older cats now represent 50% of the household cat population. 1,2 Although advancing age itself is not a disease, geriatric animals are more likely than young animals to have acquired diseases and to function at near maximum cardiovascular capacity. The majority of cardiac diseases in cats are acquired and progressive; the minority are congenital. 3 The limited cardiovascular reserves of geriatric animals and the development of heart disease with increased age place these animals at relatively higher risk during sedation or anesthesia. 4,5 To minimize this risk, keep in mind that there are no safe sedative or anesthetic drugs; there are only safe practices in their delivery. A knowledge of the physical status of the animal and of drug pharmacologic effects as they apply to the cardiovascular system will help you select the safest sedative protocol for the animal. PHYSICAL STATUS Development of safe sedative or anesthetic protocols requires an understanding of the type and severity of a patient's cardiac disease. Unfortunately, this information is often unknown at the time of sedation or anesthesia, sometimes because of the need for sedation before diagnostics can be performed (e.g., physical examination, echocardiography, thoracic radiography, blood collection) and sometimes because the client has declined to pursue some or all of these diagnostics. You may have to develop a sedative or anesthetic protocol without knowing if the cat has underlying cardiovascular disease. MINIMIZING ANESTHESIA RISKS There are no safe sedative or anesthetic drugs, just safe delivery practices.

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