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Lurcher with greyhound may need gen anaesthetic any advice

(27 Posts)
paddythepooch Sun 03-Nov-13 16:53:24

My beloved boy has hurt his claw. On lead exercise and anti bs. Vet is saying either a local or general to remove claw is one possibility. I know greyhounds need special treatment round general anaesthetic. Any good sound sources of info I should give vet?

Claw is not bothering him so removal seems a bit ott but I may be wrong.

No horror stories please. My nerves can't take it :-)

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 03-Nov-13 17:04:58

Modern anaesthetics are as safe in greyhound as they are in any other type of dog and humans.
The myth goes back when we used thiopentone which was stored in fat then recirculated through the body later. As greyhounds have very little fat it had to be used in a different way in greyhounds all vets who worked at this time had very good training in how to manage greyhound anaesthetics with this. Modern anaesthetics do not work in this way.
There is a risk with every anaesthetic, but it is no greater for greyhounds than other dogs. The vast majority of practices regular anaesthetise greyhounds so your vet will almost certainly be used to them.

moosemama Sun 03-Nov-13 18:51:33

Read this thread on Lurcher Link. It isn't just the thiopentone. Some hounds don't react well to Vetergesic, which is commonly used.

I'd also advise doing a quick search of the other threads on LL, as there are quite a few people who have have both good and bad experiences with different drugs.

It's a bone of contention between many hound owners and their vets, unfortunately.

OneHolyCow Sun 03-Nov-13 18:54:33

Wasn't there something with ketamine like drugs as well? I'm very tired and it would take me too long to look up, but my hound did badly on 'trippy' narcotics.

moosemama Sun 03-Nov-13 18:58:56

More recent thread about it here, with more info re adverse reactions to vetergesic.

This list of recommended vets for hounds might also be helpful.

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 03-Nov-13 19:05:39

The reactions to vetergesic happen in some dogs of all breeds lurches are not unique to this, vast numbers of us use methadone instead to avoid the problems.

OneHolyCow Sun 03-Nov-13 19:33:47

Ah methadone, that was it! My dog was tripping for hours and my vet marked it as to not use that with her again.

moosemama Sun 03-Nov-13 19:34:24

I'm sure there are adverse reactions in many breeds, but given the numbers of lurchers and other sighthounds on hound specific forums that have had quite nasty reactions to it, I personally would prefer to know about and avoid it.

Interesting to see you say lots of vets use methadone instead, as I know of people whose vets have refused point blank to use anything other than Vetergesic.

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 03-Nov-13 19:47:36

Moose if you search vetergesic and any other breed you will find discussions about it on their forum. Vetergesic does have some really useful benefits and in certain situations it is an excellent drug. Whilst methadone is useful for bitch spays it also has disadvantages and is not the right drug in certain situations.
In fact if you search any drug and any breed you will find discussion about side effects. Side effects are a fact of medicine, we can not predict every animal's response to every drug.
I used to own a lurcher and in a particular situation used vetergesic for my own dog as on a risk benefit balance it was the right thing to do.

DeathByLaundry Sun 03-Nov-13 19:49:42

Just to echo Lonecat in saying that there's no reason to treat sighthounds differently with modern anaesthetics.

I am a lurcher owner and have numerous greys and sighthounds under my care and genuinely see no more problems with opioid drugs than with other breeds. Pharmacologically there is no reason why they will respond any differently to Vetergesic than other breeds (unlike thio which had to be used with a little care, although I don't know of any vets still using it now).

Methadone is a great alternative to Vetergesic but it is a little more expensive and a bit more hassle to record properly so some practices aren't keen to use it. Personally I think it is excellent, but there will still be some individuals who don't tolerate it well. The same can be said for any drug.

It's rare to see ketamine used in dogs in general practice.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 03-Nov-13 19:52:33

I wish I'd known about the problems before my grey went for a dental.

When I spoke to the rgt about what had happened afterwards they seemed to think that there is still an issue with hounds and GAs.

DeathByLaundry Sun 03-Nov-13 19:57:54

Genuinely I don't know of any evidence that sighthounds are a greater anaesthetic risk than any other breed. I know you had a terrible loss Viva, and I can understand your feelings of regret, but I am certain that if you'd had that discussion with your vet they'd have reassured you in the same way I am just now.

DeathByLaundry Sun 03-Nov-13 20:01:30

I think perhaps ten fifteen years back when everyone used thio and greys were less common as pets there were possibly vets who were unaware of the issues. But that drug has been superceded now and I know the risks of its use in lean dogs were made very clear when I was a student so I really don't think it's a significant problem today. The RGT possibly aren't as up to date with veterinary anaesthesia as they might think!

moosemama Sun 03-Nov-13 20:06:28

Ok, so my pup is going to be neutered sometime over the next few months, as a condition of his rescue.

Obviously I don't want him to have Vetergesic, if my vet doesn't want to use Methadone, what, if any, are the alternatives?

DeathByLaundry Sun 03-Nov-13 20:15:52

It depends on your vet as to what they stock. These drugs are given primarily for their analgesic effects. Methadone is a much better analgesic than buprenorphine (Vetergesic) but it doesn't last as long. The other drug they will definitely have available would be butorphanol but it gives crap pain relief. And all of them are opioids so have the potential to cause dysphoria. It's a small risk which personally I'm happy to take given the enormous benefits of good analgesia.

Incidentally, by including these drugs in pre-meds it's possible to use less anaesthetic drugs and anaesthetics are usually smoother because the patient feels less pain. So the tiny risk of an individual having an adverse effect is hugely outweighed.

DeathByLaundry Sun 03-Nov-13 20:17:46

Your vet may also have morphine or pethidine available but neither compare to methadone for practical use and safety, IMO. In the absence of methadone, especially for a castrate, I would be 100% happy to use Vetergesic.

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 03-Nov-13 20:22:40

As death has said disadvantage to pethidine is it only lasts 2 hours.
Without an opioid the dose of anaesthetic needed increases by about 50% and this carries it's own risk too. Also you will rely on only a NSAID for pain relief.
Anaesthesia is all about balancing risks.
The trues saying I ever heard is
There are no safe anaesthetics only safe anaesthetists and the safest anaesthetist is one using drugs they are familiar with.
There will always be individuals so react in unpredictable ways if you know your drugs you are far more likely to be able to manage and correct this situation.

moosemama Sun 03-Nov-13 20:32:05

I keep being told that it's very lean dogs that tend to have the worst reactions and my boy is extremely lean. We struggle to get weight onto him. We're not sure of his mix, but lots of people have suggested there's a fair amount of Saluki in there.

I'm really worried about him having a GA, he's been so ill already in his short life, I want to do all I can to make sure nothing else bad happens to him.

If I understand correctly, standard castration with no complications is a pretty short op anyway - but he's such a big wimp when it comes to pain I really want him kept as comfortable and pain free as possible.

I know my older Lurcher had Vetergesic (before I'd heard anything adverse about it) and although he took quite a while to fully recover he was OK, but he's part Deerhound, much more chunky and carries a decent amount of weight on him. He's also pretty stoic when it comes to pain though - so really a different kettle of fish to the pup.

While I've got you here ... (apologies for the hijack OP) ... the rescue wanted him neutered by 6 months, but on discussing this with my vet, she said she'd prefer to wait a while. His knuckles are still huge and he's already 22.5 inches at 5 months old and growing like a weed, so she felt it would be prudent to wait from an osteo point of view. I'm also a bit concerned that due to delayed socialisation with other dogs (as a result of being so ill necessitating delayed vax) he's pretty fearful, although getting better by the day and worry that by neutering too early we could be asking for trouble in terms of fear aggression.

I think, if I can get the rescue to agree, I'd prefer to wait a few months, as she advised, but wondered what other veterinary people's views might be?

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 03-Nov-13 20:40:06

There is good evidence that castrating a nervous male dog prior to 12months of age can make the nervousness worse maybe even becoming aggressive. This is because testosterone is a 'confidence boosting' hormone in basic terms.

moosemama Sun 03-Nov-13 21:26:30

Thanks Lonecat, that's what I'd heard and between that and the growth plate/osteo thing I do think it would be inadvisable to castrate at 6 months.

Having had a FA male dog in the past (interestingly also neutered young) I am extremely keen to do everything we can to avoid it happening again. If we wait, I'm fairly confident he will be fine by the time we have it done. He's making such good progress already. He's currently only fearful, no sign of aggression at all, but I dread neutering and finding it has made the situation worse by messing with his hormones.

moosemama Sun 03-Nov-13 21:27:01

Apologies again for the hijack - OP.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 03-Nov-13 21:30:32

Lone cat, what about neutering a fa dog after 12 months? Might that make the aggression worse as well?

Though I'm beginning to think my dogs fear aggression is no longer fear based but more territorial aggression towards dh. He doesn't seem scared of dh like he used to and will happily play with dh a lot, but if dh goes in the dining room he goes for him. He used to go for dh all the time. We have got him on zylkene which I think is helping. Sorry for post hijack.

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 03-Nov-13 21:36:16

That's difficult to say, you have a very specific situation which unless a specific incident happens in the dining room makes fear aggression less likely.
I don't rush to castrate any male dog I think the health benefits are in the balance and owners need to have all the information and make an informed decision.

DeathByLaundry Sun 03-Nov-13 22:49:25

Agree with Lonecat. Mostly we only have anecdotal evidence that neutering increases fear aggression but there's lots of other evidence that the risks of neutering male dogs are not outweighed by benefits, so not something I encourage owners to do without a full discussion so they can make what decision is best for them. I advise against neutering any dog before puberty with the exception of some female terriers.

Also just want to add that the issue with lean dogs applies only to thiopentone. It isn't relevant to any of the opioid drugs.

Floralnomad Mon 04-Nov-13 14:41:31

Can I just hijack as well to say well done viva for persevering with your little boy and I hope eventually your husband will be able to use all the rooms in the house !

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