The level of monitoring necessary should be determined based on individual patient risk; at minimum, body temperature, heart rate, and respiratory rate should be obtained and recorded at fixed intervals. ECG, Doppler or other non-invasive blood pressure monitoring, and pulse oximetry can provide useful information and should be used in higher risk animals.3,4 Maintaining a sedation record is advised and can help guide subsequent management. Although reversal of drugs is sometimes necessary, the patient’s temperament and pain should always be considered.
Sedation protocols may include a tranquilizer (eg, acepromazine) or sedative (eg, dexmedetomidine), an opioid for analgesia and sedation (in dogs), and, if warranted, an anesthetic agent. Onset and duration, route of administration, desired depth of sedation, procedure, and need for reversibility should all be considered.
Sedation is aimed at facilitating completion of the procedure without causing undue stress to the patient or veterinary staff. Drugs should provide adequate calming, pain relief (if needed), and reduction in mobility appropriate to the procedure.
Following are the author’s top 5 scenarios involving sedation for short procedures. Drug dose information reflects what is commonly used at the author’s hospital. Additional drug-specific information may be found in Suggested Reading.