Just Ask the Expert: Anesthesia monitoring and postoperative recovery checklist

Just Ask the Expert: Anesthesia monitoring and postoperative recovery checklist

Sep 01, 2012

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Dr. Newton welcomes surgery questions from veterinarians and veterinary technicians. 

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Q. Do you have a checklist for anesthesia and postoperative monitoring?


Dr. Jenifer Newton

A. We use this sheet for monitoring in the operating room through to recovery (Click here to download this form). Our practice is almost 100% paperless, so this anesthesia sheet is scanned and linked to the medical record immediately after surgery and patient recovery. Any treatment or monitoring after extubation is kept on the treatment board. The treatment board is part of the computer record and can be displayed and modified from any computer in the hospital. We have a large monitor in the treatment room that displays all the treatments and patients for the day.




The most critical parameters that we monitor from the operating room to the time of extubation include respiratory rate and pattern, temperature (especially until the patient reaches a body temperature > 99 F [37.2 C]), heart rate, pulse via a Doppler monitor (as long as the patient tolerates it), gag reflex and swallowing, palpebral reflex and eye position, patient pain level, and any signs of emergence delirium. Pain management is aggressive, and patients are given supplemental medications as needed. Patients are kept on heated air blankets (BAIR Hugger—Arizant Healthcare) in surgery and heated water blankets in recovery as long as possible. An intravenous fluid warmer is also used during the procedure.


This anesthesia sheet was modified from a template provided within the computer software program our practice uses. Another resource is the American College of Veterinary Anesthesiologists' website, which provides drug protocols and monitoring information as well.


Muir WW, Hubbell JAE. Handbook of veterinary anesthesia. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby, 2007.

Veterinary Anesthesia & Analgesia Support Group website: http://vasg.org/

American College of Veterinary Anesthesiologists website: http://acva.org/

Jenifer Newton, DVM, MS, DACVS 

Saint Francis Veterinary Specialists 

625 Dekalb Industrial Way, Suite 500 

Decatur, GA 30033