2018 AAFP Feline Anesthesia Guidelines
The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) has released the first feline-specific anesthesia guidelines to the veterinary community, which are published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery. General anesthesia is an essential component of feline practice, without which surgery and certain other treatment modalities and diagnostic procedures would be impossible. These feline-focused Guidelines are vital to cat health. Due to their unique physiology and small size, cats undergoing anesthesia are at relatively greater risk of complications and mortality than many other species. Empirical evidence shows that cats undergoing anesthesia have a higher mortality rate compared with dogs.
Relying on a standardized, evidence-based approach for administering anesthesia is especially useful for ensuring the patient's safe and predictable perioperative response and recovery. These Guidelines address specific causes of disparities and ways of avoiding perioperative complications associated with monitoring, airway management, fluid therapy, and recovery.
"By proactively developing an individualized anesthetic plan that considers the uniqueness of each feline patient and recognizing that 'one size does not fit all,' the experience for the cat can be improved and the outcome successful. It is our hope that these Guidelines will become the practice's go-to resource and each team member will have a new awareness of all the tools and techniques available to them," in a joint statement, said Guidelines Co-Chairs Susan M. Gogolski, DVM, PMP, DABVP (Canine/Feline) and Sheilah A. Robertson, BVMS (Hons), PhD, DACVAA, DECVAA, DACAW, DECAWBM (WSEL), MRCVS.
The Guidelines were authored by an expert panel and include visuals and other information designed to minimize risks associated with anesthesia; namely, tables, charts and algorithms that are very useful resources for veterinary teams. These invaluable tips and techniques for the practice team start even before the patient leaves home and go through the critical recovery period. The associated client brochure provides cat caregivers with digestible information that enables them to understand anesthesia, what to expect, properly prepare their cat for a procedure, and care for them during recovery (catfriendly.com/anesthesia).
The panel members include Sheilah A Robertson BVMS (Hons), PhD, DACVAA, DECVAA, DACAW, DECAWBM (WSEL), MRCVS; Susan M Gogolski DVM, PMP, DABVP (Canine/Feline); Peter Pascoe BVSc, DVA, DACVAA, DECVAA, FRCVS; Heidi L Shafford DVM, PhD, DACVAA; Jennifer Sager BS, CVT, VTS (Anesthesia/Analgesia, ECC); Gregg M Griffenhagen DVM, MS, DACVAA