AAHA anesthesia guidelines for dogs and cats

J Am Anim Hosp Assoc. 2011 Nov-Dec;47(6):377-85. doi: 10.5326/JAAHA-MS-5846.


Safe and effective anesthesia of dogs and cats rely on preanesthetic patient assessment and preparation. Patients should be premedicated with drugs that provide sedation and analgesia prior to anesthetic induction with drugs that allow endotracheal intubation. Maintenance is typically with a volatile anesthetic such as isoflurane or sevoflurane delivered via an endotracheal tube. In addition, local anesthetic nerve blocks; epidural administration of opioids; and constant rate infusions of lidocaine, ketamine, and opioids are useful to enhance analgesia. Cardiovascular, respiratory, and central nervous system functions are continuously monitored so that anesthetic depth can be modified as needed. Emergency drugs and equipment, as well as an action plan for their use, should be available throughout the perianesthetic period. Additionally, intravenous access and crystalloid or colloids are administered to maintain circulating blood volume. Someone trained in the detection of recovery abnormalities should monitor patients throughout recovery. Postoperatively attention is given to body temperature, level of sedation, and appropriate analgesia.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia, General / standards
  • Anesthesia, General / veterinary*
  • Animals
  • Cat Diseases / surgery*
  • Cats
  • Dog Diseases / surgery*
  • Dogs