At-risk breeds/situations: The diseases listed below can make anesthesia and surgery a higher risk. Some are more breed specific than others. We also offer surgeries to address some of the diseases. Please review the topics, and visit your primary care veterinarian or book a pre-check appointment with us if you have any concerns before surgery!
Heart disease: The range of cardiac (heart) diseases is large and can affect any type of dog or cat. Since the heart is the primary organ that pumps blood (and thus, oxygen) throughout the body, any disease affecting the heart makes anesthesia more dangerous. We will review several of the most common heart diseases that affect dogs and cats.
Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM): This acquired heart disease is when the heart muscle becomes too weak to pump blood well, and the heart becomes enlarged to try to pump out more blood. Breeds that are most likely to have this disease include Doberman Pinschers, Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, Boxers, Newfoundlands, Portuguese Water Dogs, Dalmatians, Cocker Spaniels, and Standard Schnauzers along with other large/giant breed dogs. Cats and smaller dogs can also have this disease. Feeding a grain-free diet can cause this disease in some cases so always consult with your primary care veterinarian about the best diet for your pet. Learn more here: https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4952598
Mitral valve disease: This disease is commonly found in dogs, especially small breed dogs that are middle to older aged. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels often have this disease. It occurs when one of the heart valves called the mitral valve starts to fail and does not appropriately direct the flow of blood through the heart. This creates turbulent blood flow which makes a sound we call a heart murmur. Not all heart murmurs are caused by mitral valve disease, however. It is best to visit your primary care veterinarian for thoracic radiographs (chest x-rays), blood work, and further testing to determine if your pet is a candidate for surgery when a heart murmur is present. Learn more here: https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=8526511
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM): This disease mostly affects cats and may be seen more in the Maine Coon and Ragdoll breeds though any cat can be affected. This disease occurs when the heart muscle grows thicker, and only a small amount of blood is pumped out at a time. This creates a back-up of blood as fluid into the lungs over time. A heart murmur or abnormal heart rhythm may indicate this disease so please visit your primary care veterinarian for further testing if your pet is suspected of having heart disease. Learn more here: https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=8661009
Heartworms and other parasites: Here in Florida we have a plethora of parasites both outside the body, such as ticks and fleas, and within the body, such as intestinal parasites and blood parasites like heartworms. Any parasite can cause or transfer disease to our pets that will make anesthesia and surgery riskier. Heartworms make the heart work harder than normal, and other blood pathogens such as tick borne diseases may make the pet have trouble clotting which leads to bleeding. Intestinal parasites and even fleas and ticks can make the pet anemic or not have enough oxygen carrying red blood cells in the blood. Any of these situations are not ideal, especially when considering anesthesia and surgery. Blood testing and administering preventions for parasites is highly recommended as your normal routine, especially before your surgical visit.