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Results of the Confidential Enquiry into Perioperative Small Animal Fatalities regarding risk factors for anesthetic-related death in dogs

David C. Brodbelt MA VetMB, PhD1, Dirk U. Pfeiffer Dr med vet, PhD2, Lesley E. Young BVSc, PhD3, and James L. N. Wood BSc, BVetMed, MSc, PhD4
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  • 1 Animal Health Trust, Lanwades Park, Kentford, Newmarket, Suffolk, CB8 7UU, England.
  • | 2 Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Ln, North Mymms, Herts, AL9 7TA, England.
  • | 3 Animal Health Trust, Lanwades Park, Kentford, Newmarket, Suffolk, CB8 7UU, England.
  • | 4 Animal Health Trust, Lanwades Park, Kentford, Newmarket, Suffolk, CB8 7UU, England.

Abstract

Objective—To identify major risk factors associated with anesthetic-related death in dogs.

Design—Case-control study.

Animals—148 dogs that died or were euthanized within 48 hours after undergoing anesthesia or sedation and for which anesthesia could not be reasonably excluded as a contributory factor (cases) and 487 control dogs that did not die within 48 hours after undergoing anesthesia or sedation (controls).

Procedures—Details of patient characteristics, preoperative evaluation and preparation, procedure, anesthetic and sedative agents used, monitoring, postoperative management, and personnel involved were recorded. Mixed-effects logistic regression modeling was used to identify factors associated with anesthetic-related death.

Results—An increase in physical status grade, urgency of the procedure, age, or intended duration of the procedure; a decrease in body weight; anesthesia for a major versus a minor procedure; and use of injectable agents for anesthetic induction and halothane for maintenance or use of inhalant anesthetics alone (compared with use of injectable agents for induction and isoflurane for maintenance) were associated with increased odds of anesthetic-related death.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The results suggested that specific factors could be associated with increased odds of anesthetic-related death in dogs. Knowledge of these factors should aid the preoperative assessment and perioperative management of dogs undergoing anesthesia and sedation.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Brodbelt's present address is Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Ln, North Mymms, Herts, AL9 7TA, England.

Dr. Young's present address is Specialist Veterinary Cardiology Services, Moat End, Dunstall Green, Suffolk, CB8 8TZ, England.

Dr. Wood's present address is Department of Veterinary Medicine, Cambridge University, Madingley Rd, Cambridge, CB3 OES, England.

The Confidential Enquiry into Perioperative Small Animal Fatalities was funded by Pfizer Animal Health.

Presented in part at the Spring Meeting of the Association of Veterinary Anaesthetists, Rimini, Italy, April 2005.

The authors thank Ms. Prue Neath, Dr. Karen Blissitt, and Dr. Richard Hammond for assisting on the Independent Review Panel and Drs. Jackie C. Brearley, Mark Johnston, and Polly M. Taylor for assistance in development of the Confidential Enquiry into Perioperative Small Animal Fatalities.

Address correspondence to Dr. Brodbelt.