Anaesthesia and Pain Management

AnaesthesiaAnaesthesia may be required during your animal's treatment in the hospital for a variety of reasons including undergoing surgery or diagnostic procedures. The anaesthesia department provides the highest standard of anaesthesia and peri-operative medicine for patients under our care.  The department is comprised of specialist veterinary surgeons, clinical scholars in specialist training, and anaesthesia specific nurses. The department is equipped with facilities akin to what would be found in a human hospital to ensure anaesthesia can be provided for all anaesthetic procedures from the routine to the most complex. We have full monitoring facilities for every patient, and more advanced facilities such as blood gas analysis, ventilation, transthoracic pacing, and peri-operative auto-transfusion to allow us to facilitate advanced procedures.

Our specialist staff will oversee your animal's anesthetic from their initial evaluation right through the procedure and into recovery. Anaesthetic plans are tailored to each patient individually depending on their needs and any diseases they have. This applies particularly to pain relief, where we have a wide variety of drugs and techniques available (e.g. local anaesthetic blocks) to ensure that patients are comfortable throughout their hospital stay.

Alongside the provision of a clinical service, the department is active in both clinical research and teaching. We supervise veterinary students rotating through anaesthesia as part of our innovative final year curriculum. A number of clinical research studies are also conducted within the department which aim to improve patient care, and impact upon anesthesia practice across the profession. You may be asked for consent for your animal to be involved in one of these trials when you come to the hospital, and the clinician in charge would be happy to give you further information.

Recent clinical scholar projects

  • Investigating local anaesthetic techniques for pain relief following orthopaedic surgery in dogs.
  • Validating novel real time measurements of haemoglobin concentration in dogs.
  • Improving anaesthesia for brachycephalic patients; the effect of premedication and maintenance agents.
  • Refining repeated anaesthesia protocols for radiotherapy in dogs.

Selected recent clinical scholar publications

  • Yamaoka, T. T., Flaherty, D., Pawson, P., Scott, M. and Auckburally, A. (2017) Comparison of arterial blood pressure measurements obtained invasively or oscillometrically using a Datex S/5 Compact monitor in anaesthetised adult horses. Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia, (doi:10.1016/j.vaa.2016.05.008) (In Press)
  • Minghella, E., Auckburally, A., Pawson, P., Scott, M. E. and Flaherty, D. (2016) Clinical effects of midazolam or lidocaine co-induction with a propofol target-controlled infusion (TCI) in dogs. Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia, 43(5), pp. 472-481.
  • Montefiori, F., Pawson, P., Auckburally, A., Scott, M. and Flaherty, D. (2016) An evaluation of a target-controlled infusion of propofol or propofol-alfentanil admixture for sedation in dogs. Journal of Small Animal Practice, 57(4), pp. 181-187.
  • Calvo, G., Holden, E., Reid, J., Scott, E.M., Firth, A., Bell, A., Robertson, S. and Nolan, A.M. (2014) Development of a behaviour-based measurement tool with defined intervention level for assessing acute pain in cats. Journal of Small Animal Practice, 55(12), pp. 622-629. (doi:10.1111/jsap.12280)
  • Holden, E., Calvo, G., Collins, M., Bell, A., Reid, J., Scott, E.M. and Nolan, A.M. (2014) Evaluation of facial expression in acute pain in cats. Journal of Small Animal Practice, 55(12), pp. 615-621. (doi:10.1111/jsap.12283)
  • Amengual, M., Flaherty, D., Auckburally, A., Bell, A.M., Scott, E.M. and Pawson, P. (2013) An evaluation of anaesthetic induction in healthy dogs using rapid intravenous injection of propofol or alfaxalone. Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia, 40(2), pp. 115-123.

Short form pain questionnaire

The short form composite measure pain score (CMPS-SF) can be applied quickly and reliably in a clinical setting and has been designed as a clinical decision making tool which was developed for dogs in acute pain. It includes 30 descriptor options within 6 behavioural categories, including mobility. Within each category, the descriptors are ranked numerically according to their associated pain severity and the person carrying out the assessment chooses the descriptor within each category which best fits the dog's behaviour/condition. It is important to carry out the assessment procedure as described on the questionnaire, following the protocol closely. The pain score is the sum of the rank scores. The maximum score for the 6 categories is 24, or 20 if mobility is impossible to assess. The total CMPS-SF score has been shown to be a useful indicator of analgesic requirement and the recommended analgesic intervention level is 6/24 or 5/20.