We remain open to provide care for your pets. We are following the direction of government and regulatory authorities and have implemented hospital and visit protocols to keep both you and our team safe. For regular updates on our hours and visit protocols, please follow our social media platforms.

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Pet Anesthesia and Patient Monitoring

At our hospital, each patient has one or more technicians dedicated full time to your pet’s anesthetic monitoring under the care of the veterinarian. These technicians are with your pet from induction (initiation of anesthesia) right through to their full recovery.

 
 
 

We take the safety of your pet under anesthesia very seriously. Each patient undergoing anesthesia has a specific drug protocol tailored individually based on their species, age, breed, and the procedure in which they are undergoing.

Anesthetic maintenance and monitoring are crucial for a successful surgical procedure. As such, in addition to a technician dedicated to hands-on monitoring including pulse quality (to identify blood pressure and arrythmias), mucous membrane colour and capillary refill time, and other parameters such as jaw tone and the presence of a palpebral reflex (to assess anesthetic depth), the anesthetic patient is hooked up to our monitors which are at all times monitoring over eight different parameters.

Every patient at Westbridge Veterinary Hospital undergoing a procedure requiring anesthesia is placed on intravenous fluids. This is important in maintaining blood pressures, the importance of which is outlined below. In addition, it provides intravenous access which is crucial to the administration of life saving drugs in the event of an anesthetic emergency.

Blood Pressure Monitoring
Blood pressure monitoring is essential to a patient under anesthesia. Blood pressure is the driving force for blood flow (perfusion) through capillaries that supply oxygen to organs and tissue beds of the body. Low blood pressure results in decreased oxygen delivery, resulting in the death of important cells and organ damage, most sensitively the kidney and brain. Because lowered blood pressure is a common side effect of many anesthetic drugs, monitoring these values under anesthesia is crucial. At Westbridge, a state-of-the-art non-invasive blood pressure monitor is hooked up to your pet at all times, using the two leaders in non-invasive blood pressure monitoring. Changes in blood pressure can be determined quickly and accurately, allowing for appropriate interventions, increasing the safety for your pet.

Capnography – CO2 (carbon dioxide) Monitoring
CO2 monitoring is extremely valuable to a patient under anesthesia. It is the most accurate tool conventionally available to assess the respiratory system in a patient under anesthesia. Inadequate ventilation (or ‘breathing’) can result in increased CO2 levels, which can cause arrythmias, altered blood flow to the brain, and potentially death. This is particularly important to patients with airway disease (such as asthma), or to overweight animals. CO2 is also the most accurate tool we have to assess cardiac output, or the strength and effectiveness of the hearts contractions.

Temperature
Anesthesia always results in a dramatic reduction in body temperature, particularly in long procedures. Decreased body temperatures is associated with prolonged recovery and increase in post-surgical infections. Every anesthesia patient is monitored through an esophageal thermometer which gives an accurate representation of core body temperatures. Every anesthetic patient is provided with a Bair Hugger, a forced-air device that safely fills a blanket around the patient with warm air at 39 degrees to maintain body temperatures extremely effectively.

ECG / EKG / Electrocardiogram
An electrocardiogram detects and amplifies tiny electrical changes on the skin that are caused when the heart muscle “depolarizes” during each heart beat. This helps to detect arrhythmias which can be caused by anesthesia or heart disease, and when present can be potentially fatal if left untreated.

Heart and Respiratory (Breathing) Rate
Heart rate and respiratory rate are measure constantly though an anesthetic procedure. These values are useful for many reasons, including assessing anesthetic depth, body temperature, drug reactions, etc. These are monitored both by our anesthetic monitor, as well as by the technician by visualizing and characterizing each breath, as well as through a stethoscope.

SPO2 – Oxygen Saturation
SPO2 is a measure of the amount of oxygen that is dissolved in the blood stream, carried by red blood cells. This ensures that a patient is receiving adequate amounts of oxygen. Lowered O2 can be a result of inadequate breathing, lung disease, excessive intravenous fluids, bleeding, and much more.

The Human Touch
Arguably as important as any monitored parameter is the presence of a trained technician managing your pets anesthesia at all times, under the supervision of the veterinarian. Our technicians undergo year round training and continuing education to further their anesthesia skills, and to stay up to date with modern anesthesia. Their presence is imperative to the safety of your pet, and to verify the accuracy of the various monitors. Changes in the parameters monitored can be assessed immediately, allowing various interventions necessary, such as adjusting the depth of anesthesia, or to deliver necessary medications.

Anesthetic Machine
Our anesthetic machines are designed specifically for the use in small animal anesthesia. Our machines are tested every morning by our technicians prior to surgery to ensure their function and accuracy. Oxygen flow rates, re-breathing bag sizes, and circuit type are carefully modified for each patient.

Coaxial anesthetic tubing on anesthetic machines (below) helps retain body heat while the pet is under anesthetic.

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COVID-19: Additional measures we are taking

Dear Clients,

We are all aware of the concerns and rapidly changing situation with COVID-19. Due to the close public contact that our work requires, we have taken necessary measures to protect our clients, our staff and work hard to ensure we can continue to provide excellent care for our patients.

The following changes are effective as of Wednesday, March 18, 2020:

1. If you have travelled outside Canada or come in contact with anyone who has travelled outside Canada in the past 3 weeks, or if you are feeling unwell, (coughing, fever, fatigue, etc.), please contact our clinic. We will be more than happy to reschedule your appointment or help arrange to see your pet safely.

2. We are currently operating a "closed-door" policy to protect our clients and staff. When you arrive, please remain in your vehicle and use your cell phone to call us at 905-285-0002. We will take a history by phone, and bring your pet into the clinic for an examination with the veterinarian. We will then return to your vehicle with your pet and you will get another call from the Doctor to discuss our recommended treatment plan.

3. We are continuing to accept appointments for urgent or sick pets, as well as time-sensitive puppy/kitten vaccinations. All other services will be scheduled for a later time.

4. We are still OPEN with the following hours: Monday to Friday 10:00 am - 6:00 pm & Saturday from 8:00 am - 1:00 pm.

5. If you are ordering food or medications, please allow 4-6 business days as our suppliers are dealing with increased demand and are trying to fill orders as quickly as possible. We will advise you as soon as your order arrives. Please call us when you arrive to pick up your order, but do not enter the clinic. Our staff will bring your order to your car and take payment from your vehicle.

6. For the time being, we are not accepting cash as payment. Credit cards and debit card payments are still available.

7. Following the recommendations of our government and medical experts, we are doing our best to practice social distancing within the constraints of our jobs. We have taken these measures to avoid both contracting and facilitating the spread of this virus.

Thank you for helping us be diligent for everyone's safety. As we have heard from all levels of government, the situation is fluid, and any updates will be provided as changes occur.

Your dedicated team at Westbridge Veterinary Hospital