Animal Dentistry and Oral Surgery Specialists, LLC

2409 Omro Road
Oshkosh, WI 54904-7713


Is my pet too old for anesthesia?

Dr. Kressin has placed his own very old cats under anesthesia.

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Boots was safely anesthetized at 21 years.

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Oreo (black and white-right side) had a tongue tumor removed at 20 years.

Dr. Kressin frequently meets pet owners very worried about anesthesia for their pets since they have been previously told by another veterinarian that their pet was "too old for anesthesia".  Let's consider the facts with regard to age and anesthesia risks.

1.  Age is not a disease, and does not directly reflect health status.

We all know of healthy older people (or pets) and young people (or pets) with poor health.  Dr. Kressin prefers to evaluate each pet individually to accurately assess health status.  Anesthesia is individualized for each patient based on their health. 


2.  Health problems are addressed with well planned anesthesia protocols. 

If you "fail to plan, you can expect to fail".   Dr. Kressin chooses anesthetic drugs based on the pet's health status to help avoid problems with anesthesia.  Fortunately, patients with health problems can have safe anesthesia and receive excellent dental care!


3.  The risks of anesthesia are substantially reduced by the people providing care.

Anesthetic related death in pets is estimated to be under 1%.  The likelihood of pain and suffering from untreated disease approaches 100%. Dr. Kressin prefers to treat dental disease to avoid unnecessary suffering.  It is well worth the risk!  Do we want our companions to live a life with chronic pain?

 The American College of Veterinary Anesthesiologists has a position on the importance of anesthesia monitoring.  Dr. Kressin practices using the principles of these guidelines.


4. Are the anesthesia drugs safe?

Anesthesia safety is more about patient monitoring and supportive care (during and after anesthesia) than specific drugs utilized.