Genetic differences and anatomic factors can contribute to variability and complications during anesthetic events.
Certain breed differences can lead to greater risks for airway obstruction, increased responsiveness to anesthetic drugs, and delayed recovery, all of which can result in increased anesthesia-related morbidity and mortality. Individual genetic variability can trigger unexpected and adverse responses to anesthetic drugs, which need to be identified by good recordkeeping and consistent patient monitoring. Although genetic differences are typically held responsible for prolonged recoveries and increased drug responsiveness, true genetic sensitivity has been demonstrated in only a handful of breeds, including the greyhound and the collie.
Because many canine breeds can suffer from cardiac disease, both acquired and congenital, it is important to know which patients are likely to be affected before the anesthetic protocol is planned. If cardiac disease is suspected, a full cardiac workup with a veterinary cardiologist is recommended.