AAHA releases anesthesia guidelines

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The American Animal Hospital Association has released guidelines on anesthesia for dogs and cats.

"Anesthesia includes more than the selection of anesthetic drugs," according to the document. "A comprehensive individualized anesthetic plan will minimize perioperative morbidity and optimize perioperative conditions."

A task force developed the AAHA Anesthesia Guidelines for Dogs and Cats with a grant from Abbott Animal Health. The new guidelines add to existing references, such as the anesthesia monitoring guidelines from the American College of Veterinary Anesthesiologists.

The AAHA document offers recommendations for pre-anesthetic patient evaluation and examination, selection of pre-anesthetic medications and induction and maintenance drugs, monitoring, equipment, and recovery. The document includes sections on areas of controversy and troubleshooting of complications as well as a checklist of anesthetic equipment and a list of anesthesia monitoring tools.

The guidelines appeared in the November/December 2011 edition of the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association and also are available at aahanet.org/Library.