"Anaesthesia for a young
dog is very safe," I told the mother and young adult daughter
as the mum spoke about the dog dying on the operating table.
"No young normal dogs should die on the operating table unless
they have some heart defects or allergies or the vet has some
mistakes in his procedures. A complete blood test ought to be
done but this is optional as I give the owners a choice since
there will be a charge of $150 payable. Young normal dogs
usually are OK without the need of a blood test."
The mother said: "My dog's blood test could not be taken by
another vet. I would like to get a blood test done."
This poodle had cryptorchidism. It is a rare condition in
which the testicles do not descend into the scrotum. They were
present as two large lumps of 1.5 x 1.0 cm below the skin,
some distance from the scrotum and to the side of the penis.
These undescended testicles have a high likelihood to become
cancerous and so it was wise of the owner to get them removed
since the male poodle would not be used for breeding.
On May 30, 2011, the dog came in for surgery. The mum was
waiting in the reception room till the dog got operated.
"Please go home," I said. "I prefer to have peace of mind,
without the owner sitting outside waiting for the surgery to
be completed." The maid of another owner whose cat came in for
removal of claws (scratched her expensive furniture and her
boy's face for the last 2 years) was also sitting on the
I find that it is best that owners go home first as surgeries
and anaesthesia need full attention, without the owners being
around to enquire the status. Distracting staff and the vet.
The poodle was sedated with xylazine 0.2 ml IM. My assistant
Mr Min who replaced the experienced Mr Saw (who had worked for
3 years with me) needed much coaching as regards monitoring of
This poodle seemed to have difficulty in being fully
anaesthesized. At one time, his tongue was bright red and dry.
I stopped the gas and let the dog stabilise to a normal pink
"The dog stops breathing," he commented as I was about to
operate. "I get the respiratory stimulant injection."
"By the time the injection is drawn out from the bottle and
given, it will be too late," I said to Mr Min. He had never
encountered respiratory emergencies before in his past years
of work with vets in Malaysia and Myanmar.
I just disconnected the tube, cardiac massage 3 times, blew in
air into the lungs. Repeated another 5 times. The dog started
to breathe. This dog had difficulty in being anaesthesized by
isoflurane. The vet must know what to do.
1. Re-stabilise by giving isoflurane by mask if coughing
reflexes occur and the dog is getting up. Pull out the tube
and use mask to knock down the dog, at 5% isoflurane dose for
around 2 minutes, to effect. Monitor eyelids, eyeball rotation
and observe the breathing rate and tongue colour.
3. Isoflurane at 3%.
4. Be patient. Give the gas for > 60seconds till the dog
achieves surgical anaesthesia. There is a temptation to use 5%
to quickly knock down the dog. However, the dog has unstable
anaesthesia occurrence, so it is not wise to give high dose.
In this case, the dog was back to normal anaesthesia and did
not feel any pain. He was neutered. Dental scaling done after
that. I syringe the wax off the ear canal esp. the left ear.
Went home to a happy mother and child without problems. No
post-op complications except for Day 2 when the owner phoned
me regarding some bruising of the right surgical area. The
tolfedine oral tablets worked effectively as there are no
complaints for the past 14 days. Stitches will dissolve and I
don't get to see the dog to remove the stitches in most cases.
Around 1% of dogs will have this anaesthetic instability
problem As to the cause, it is hard to say.