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Questions for your vet before anesthesia - "Do you monitor blood pressure during anesthesia?"

This is the third in the series of essential questions to ask your vet before your cat goes for an anesthetic to ensure that they receive the best care possible and that their anesthetic is as safe as possible. Check out the first in the series on recovery here. In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of monitoring your cat's blood pressure during anesthesia and why it plays a vital role in ensuring their safety and well-being.
Many drugs used in anesthesia, including anesthetic gas, can have a significant impact on dropping your cat's blood pressure during their anesthetic. Abnormalities in blood pressure can indicate other underlying issues or complications, such as hypotension (low blood pressure) or hypertension (high blood pressure). Early detection allows for timely intervention and appropriate adjustments to anesthesia, mitigating potential risks.


Most importantly, low blood pressure results in compromised blood flow to essential organs and in cats the most sensitive organ is the kidney. Prolonged low blood pressure during anesthesia can result in kidney failure in the days after your cat recovers from their anesthetic. This can have devastating consequences for you and your cat and it is likely to significantly shorten your cat's lifespan. But this is preventable through close monitoring of blood pressure during anesthesia and intervention during the anesthetic to ensure this does not happen.

Why is this still an issue if the complications are so well known? Because this is not as big an issue in dogs, who are more robust at having low blood pressure, and so many vets in general practice treat their cat patients the same as their dog patients and often blood pressure monitoring is not a priority in general practice.

Maintaining blood pressure within a safe range during anesthesia also contributes to a smoother recovery for your cat. Stable blood pressure supports a faster, more comfortable awakening from anesthesia and reduces the risk of complications during the recovery period. Monitoring blood pressure ensures the best possible post-anesthetic care for your feline friend.

Monitoring blood pressure allows vets to tailor the anesthetic management to the individual needs of your cat and prevent the devastating consequences caused by prolnged low blood pressure. Adjustments can be made to medications, fluid administration, or other parameters to optimize their anesthesia experience. And if the low blood pressure cannot be reversed, the anesthetic should be abandoned for the long-term welfare of the cat.

If your vet is not monitoring your cat's blood pressure during anesthesia they are putting your cat at serious risk of complications as a result of the anesthetic. That is why it is so important for us as cat owners to ask this question of our vet -"Will my cat's blood pressure be monitored during their anesthetic and what resources do you have to correct low blood pressure if my cat's blood pressure gets too low?". You can also request that the procedure be abandoned if it becomes unsafe for your cat to be under anesthetic because of their blood pressure.

Some anesthetic and post-anesthetic complications are the result of unforseen circumstances, but that is not the case with low blood pressure and kidney failure, you have the power to demand more for your cat.
Wishing you and your cat a safe and comfortable veterinary experience.
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