Amazing Facts about Animal Anesthesia!!

e-collar dog

Anesthesia scares lots of people but in fact is safe and has a long and very cool history.  Check it out!

  • The truth is we have been trying to find ways to ease pain for a really long time but we have not always been very good at it.

  • Anesthesia for animals didn’t happen as fast as it did for people because it was thought that putting an animal under was painful. So they just restrained them instead. Bad idea.

  • Opium was a popular drug in early anesthesia because of its numbing properties. It has many properties that make it useful in medicine and is still employed today.

  •  During World War II many Jews escaped from the Nazis through the use of rabbit blood soaked rags with a cocaine top dressing. The dogs noses were numbed which dulled their sense of smell and their brains were addled enough to make them lose focus. Pretty smart and harmless to the dogs.

  • Spinal blocks were discovered by accident. In 1885 a doctor studying neurological problems accidently injected cocaine into a dog’s spine. The great news came when he saw that the neural block reversed on its own over time. Ask any mother who had an epidural during delivery how great a discovery this was.

  • The really worst idea for surgical analgesia was a sock to the jaw which made the patient unconscious and a hopefully very rapid surgery. Yes they actually did this

  • The man who popularized inhalant anesthesia was unable to patent his method and died penniless and bitter

  • In animals we need to look at age, size and weight, Sex (some boys need more), species (VERY important), Physical health and condition, pre surgical drugs that have been administered and the type of procedure to be performed. An overweight animal has a much greater risk of complications. Yet another reason not to feed table scraps.

  • Anesthesia free procedures were performed up into the 20th century. Ether was around but was not widely used. Think about how very painful surgery that must have been. Something to remember when someone tries to sell you on the idea of anesthesia free procedures. Dentals are surgical procedures.

  • In 1733, Rev. Stephan Hales developed invasive blood pressure measurements by introducing glass pipes into the femoral arteries of horses.

  • Anesthesia also produces amnesia and that’s always a good thing when you’re having surgery.

  • One of the hardest things we do after surgery is to determine if an animal is in pain or dysphoric. Dysphoria is a state of unease which causes vocalization and restlessness.  It can be caused by the surgical drugs we use. Unlike people animals can’t tell us how they are feeling so we monitor our surgical patients closely to minimize any discomfort.

  • It is possible to have an aware anesthesia where you can’t move but  it’s not at all common.  Thank goodness!

  • This is for the redheads out there. You really don’t need more anesthesia. That’s a myth.

Fun Animal Facts From Animal Family


If you think your pet is amazing wait until you read some of the fun facts we have complied.

  • According to a UK insurance company the most accident prone breed on the other side of the pond is the Labrador followed by Staffordshire Terriers, Rottweilers, Springer Spaniels and German Shepherds.  The least accident prone is the apparently very careful Shih Tzu.
  • VPI Insurance listed one of their oddest claims as Harley the Pug who managed to eat 100 rocks.  Fortunately Harley was able to pass them all on his own.
  • Baxter the cat, another VPI all star, fell 11 stories from the window of his home and still lived to meow another day.
  • The longest jump ever recorded on land for a dog was in England where a greyhound jumped 30 feet and over a gate while chasing down a hare.  A Chesapeake Bay retriever made the longest Dock Dog Jump when he flew 28 feet in a California competition.
  • Did you know that while dogs produce about 10 – 15 different vocal sounds cats can make over 100 distinct vocalizations.
  • We all love dogs and cats but guess what the most common mammal is?  If you guessed rodents, you are correct. Mice and rats  out number us humans  and our pets.
  • Are you afraid of spiders? You may want to try harder to like them.  In a single year, spiders consume more pounds of insects than the weight of the entire human population.
  • Don’t like snakes?  You might want to move to Antarctica.  That is the only place where there are no reptiles.
  • The flea that bites your pet can consume up to 15 times its weight in blood each day.  It can live on average, from 2 – 7 months and if it’s a she lay up to 400 eggs in her lifetime.
  • The tallest living dog in the world is a Great Dane who stands at 43 inches or over 3 and ½ feet tall.
  • The tiniest, according to Guinness is a 4 inch tall Chihuahua in Kentucky.
  • The heaviest dog is an English Mastiff who weighs in at 282 pounds.
  • You think you hate the flu?  Think about how frogs must feel.  When they need to vomit they have to expel their entire stomach, manually remove the contents and then swallow the stomach back down again.
  • Finally, depending on the source, it’s claimed that the average cow can produce anywhere from 400 to 1000 liters of methane gas daily and you thought your husband was bad.

We tried to validate all of the information included in this blog.  If there was a Guinness World record we used that.