Stanley is a dear sweet dog. Unfortunately, however, he has a taste for chocolate, loves to counter surf, barks too much and sometimes wiggles into his parents’ bed when there’s a fearsome storm howling outside. Well… he’ll also pop into bed when a little rain is accompanied by a wee bit of wind, but the parents don’t turn down a seemingly scared dog even when they know he’s faking.

Who is this dog who wasn’t faking when he needed some surgery? Stanley is Dr. Kathy Passinault’s dog. Recently he had his teeth cleaned and some small eyelid tumors removed. It reminded Passinault about how stressful it can be to have a pet undergo a procedure. Here is her message to you:

To my dear clients who worry about putting their pets under anesthesia: Recently Stanley had his teeth cleaned and two small eyelid growths removed. As we went into this surgery, I was a wreck. After all, he’s 10 years old. Knowing his bloodwork and electrocardiogram looked normal did not make me feel more confident. I’m ashamed to say I even did a mini-ultrasound before he would undergo anesthesia, and I STILL was nervous!

Dr. Kathy Passinault is a little nervous about Stanley having anesthesia.

So here’s my apology to you: If I have ever seemed unsympathetic to nervous owners, I am so sorry! You’re right to feel anxious, because anesthesia can be scary. I get it, and all of our teammates at Greendale Village Vet get it.

Oh how my heart goes out to my coworkers, who had to put up with my nervous Nellie nonsense before the surgery. I think we have the most skilled compassionate staff in the country. Seriously. I would trust no one else with my dogs, and yet I told them their job multiple times.

Monika and Ann-Marie have incredible patience when a doctor is being a nervous Nellie.

“Be sure to rotate him sternally, since he’s a deep-chested breed,” I said to them. I don’t know if I ever particularly noticed their eye colors until I saw the rolling them at me. “Are the monitors ready to be hooked up?”

“Oh did you want monitors?” asked one colleague in her special snarky voice.

“Do we really need to make an incision for that eyelid mass?” I asked. “He might be in pain afterward.”

“Yes, Kathy. That’s what the pain meds are for.” That was followed by: “Don’t you need to be somewhere?”

So I left, and guess what: He did great – just like I knew he would, but whew! It was as much an ordeal for me as a pet parent as it was for Stanley!

And finally, a word to my sweet boy Stanley: I should have taken those eyelid growths off months ago. And your breath smells so much better now, and I bet your food tastes better too.

There’s a moral to this story:
When your doctor recommends anesthesia, it’s because the reason for having it outweighs the risk. We take many, many precautions to ensure the procedure will be safe. Stanley got his teeth cleaned, which is something he has done every 12 to 18 months. I am anxious each time he goes through it, but I know his oral health is critically important to his overall health.

I see so many pets with oral pain because of excess calculi and gingivitis, and many times those pets are suffering because their owners fear an anesthetic procedure. Again, I get it, but it’s not fair to our pets. Because of breeding and domestication, there are very few dogs that can live comfortable, healthy lives without professional dental care. Our pets trust us to care for them, and in my opinion, it’s part of the quality of their lives.

Veterinary technician Ann-Marie examines Stanley’s teeth while he is sedated.

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