IntroductionAnaesthesia is defined as: The loss of sensation in a part or whole of the body by controlled reversible suppression of the central nervous system.
An anaesthetic drug is: A drug that causes anaesthesia.
Analgesia is defined as: Insensibility to pain.
An analgesic drug is: A drug that reduces the perception of pain without causing loss of consciousness.
Anaesthesia and analgesia are often employed to work hand-in-hand in order primarily to ensure that an animal undergoing a surgical procedure does not suffer trauma during and after an operation. The Protection of Animals Act 1964 legally obligates veterinary surgeons to adopt effective techniques to prevent the suffering of a patient during a painful procedure. In addition to humane reasons, anaesthesia is performed to provide immobility or restraint of a patient.
To recap; anaesthesia is necessary:
Times have changed since the days of chloroform, ether and open circuits. The veterinary nurse now plays an essential role in assisting the veterinary surgeon during anaesthesia in the following ways:
IMPORTANT NOTE - INDUCTION OF ANAESTHESIA MUST BE PERFORMED BY A VETERINARY SURGEON.
In order to be able to perform the above tasks safely and accurately, thorough training is necessary in all aspects of anaesthesia. Reading alone is never enough to fully understand the techniques involved; practical lectures and demonstrations are essential. An animal's life may be in your hands, therefore the most vital piece of information is: ALWAYS ASK IF YOU ARE UNSURE REGARDING ANY ASPECT OF ANAESTHESIA.
Remember, this book is intended as a revision guide, and further reading is recommended. Helpful references are included at the end of this chapter.
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