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Anesthesia Recommendations

Our Kangals often require sedation or general anesthesia at least once during his/her lifetime. These days it is more often a safe procedure than not, but with knowledge, owners may help to make the experience less stressful for everyone.

If sedation is used, ask the doctor who will be in charge of calculating and actually administering the medications used and how these medications are delivered. By oral route, injectable (intravenous, intramuscularly, subcutaneously) or inhalant? Anesthetics and pre and post medications make a significant impact on how smooth the induction and recovery goes for the patient.

 

Consult with your veterinarian prior to any anesthetic event to learn what the protocol is for the procedure as well as for your dog’s weight, health condition and age. One protocol is not suitable for all Kangals so I can only write of what I have observed recently.

 

Using medication to effect where the sedative or anesthetic dose is administered incrementally as the patient responds is often the best way to go, rather than giving the calculated by weight dose by bolus (all at once). My experience has been that frequently if the veterinarian gives medication calculation alone, Kangals frequently are very slow to recover. Sometimes they respond slowly to the administered drug, so more is given, then the dog has a longer and deeper anesthesia. 

Rarely, the Kangal is so distressed by being at the hospital that a tranquilizer or anti anxiety must be given.

 

Try to avoid using ACEPROMAZINE either orally or by injection. Kangals do not appear to be able to metabolize it as expected - some other breeds also have this problem. Alternatives exist. Butorphanol tartrate (brand name TORBUTROL or TORBUGESIC) appear to cause lengthy and often unnecessary sedation. Try to avoid using this also. 

 

Propofol and buprenorphine as an anesthetic/sedative/post anesthetic protocol along with an inhalant anesthetic have worked very well for me recently.

Dexmedetomidine is a newer medication that is used by injection, IV or intramuscularly. It also is available as an oral medication for anxiety and noise aversion. This medication has been used with Kangals with positive outcomes. The veterinarian must be cautious in dosing as Kangals seem to have paradoxical excitation after this is administered more frequently than other breeds and mixed breed dogs.

 

Finally, with the DOJ, FDA, DEA and the pharmaceutical industries are currently restricting availability of many of these medications due to ‘the opioid crisis’. Veterinarians have been unable to acquire these essential medications. It remains to be seen how veterinarians will be able to provide quality care for their patients in the coming months (years?) without access to certain pain relievers, anesthetics and sedatives. 

 

Heidi E Stucki DVM

Cedar Ponds

Galesburg, Michigan