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General anaesthesia basically defines the process of the MRI examination. On the one hand, it is necessary because your dog/cat/pet has to lie motionless, in the same position for the entire duration of the MRI examination. On the other hand, the machine is clicking loudly because the higher performance the device has, the noisier it is. We, at VetScan, use a high-field magnet, therefore the patient has to remain motionless in a really loud noise. We do not cause pain thus deep surgical anaesthesia or complementary analgesia is not required; only superficial anaesthesia is performed. However, in medical terms, superficial anaesthesia is also considered anaesthesia and involves a certain degree of risk. We definitely work to minimise the risk of anaesthesia. We use rapidly degrading medications that are quickly eliminated from the body and result in an easily controllable sleep. Moreover, your pet’s anaesthesia is performed by a highly experienced anaesthesiologist. The main task of the anaesthesiologist is to prepare your pet to the anaesthesia; he starts, administers and maintains anaesthesia and remains in the examination area with your pet for the entire duration of the examinations. The anaesthesiologist monitors the respiratory rate, the pulse rate, the blood oxygen level and the carbon-dioxide content of the exhaled air. It means he closely follows the patient’s condition and the depth of the anaesthesia and can adjust it to achieve the most favourable condition. Under these examination conditions, the risk of anaesthesia is minimal. Animals are not allowed to eat 12 hours prior to the examination and are not allowed to drink 4 hours prior to the examination. Deprivation from food and water enhances the safety of the anaesthesia and reduces the occurrence of complications. The anaesthesiologist examines your pet before the anaesthesia. He listens to the heart and the lungs, examines the mucous membranes and reviews all conditions on the basis of which the animal has to be assessed before the anaesthesia. You will be thoroughly interviewed about any previous anaesthesia, surgical procedures, known medical conditions and medication- or other allergies. If you have new blood test results, or other relevant results (e.g. heart ultrasound, chest X-ray), please bring the reports or send them by email. After the consultation and the pre-examination anaesthesia, a cannula is inserted to the front leg (into one of the veins) which is attached with a tape. The cannulation area is trimmed with a machine and is disinfected with alcoholic disinfectant. Through the vein cannula, a slight amount of intravenous anaesthetic, propofol is administered which is also used during the anaesthesia of small human babies. The animal receives only the amount of venous anaesthetic to fall asleep so that the tracheal tube can be inserted to its trachea. The tracheal tube is fixed with gauze bandage to the nose, for short-nosed dogs to the neck. The sleeping patients with the tracheal tube are taken to the MRI where the anaesthesia is performed with anaesthetic gas. The animals inhale and exhale the anaesthetic gas through the tracheal tube. We use inhalation anaesthesia by using one of the most advanced anaesthetic gases, sevofluran. During the initial phase of waking up the animal is still under our supervision. If the animal is more or less awake, it can spend the rest of the waking up period with you in a separate room designated for this. We also monitor the process here several times. If your pet is fully awake, everything is normal and the disease allows, the patient can leave our diagnostic centre. Before leaving, we remove the venous cannula in the half-awake state and a small bandage is applied on its place. It can be removed after an hour at home. The risk that the patient does not wake up from the anaesthesia, controlled by a careful specialist and performed with advanced medications and safe technique, is slight. Mild cough for 1-2 days following the examination or vomiting for a few hours after the examination might occur as a side effect of the tracheal tube. However, vomiting rarely happens. Dogs with spine disease might move much worse after the examination than before. The reason is that the examination is performed in a supine position with stretched spine which is a position dogs never take when they are awake. Returning to the original position is very difficult for the dogs and is made even more complicated by the fact that the back and buttock muscles get into a completely relaxed state. After waking up, it takes long time for these dogs suffering from spine disease and back pain to “find” the normal muscle tone again which provides them the most comfortable and least painful position and motion. However, after 1-2 days of this worsened motion the animal returns to the original condition. Our team continuously work to provide the safest anaesthesia to your pet so that the animal spends the shortest possible period in anaesthesia and you can return home safe and relaxed after the examination.

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