Anesthesia for greyhounds is unlike anesthesia for other breeds. "Greyhounds and anesthesia are a potentially lethal mix," says Greyhound Pets of America. Fortunately, greyhound-savvy veterinarians created safe anesthesia protocols that are widely used today. If your greyhound requires anesthesia, verify beforehand that your vet uses only greyhound-safe anesthetics.
Anesthetics to Avoid
Anesthetic drugs in the thiobarbituate family may not be used for greyhound anesthesia, as they are unsafe. Thiobarbituates include drugs such as Biotal, Surital, and Pentothal. Greyhounds process these very differently from other dogs; the drugs remain in the greyhound's body for a long time after surgery, and Greyhound Pets of America therefore states that these drugs should never be used for greyhound anesthesia.
Dr. Suzanne Stack, DVM, recommends the following greyhound-safe anesthetics: An acepromazine/atropine combination is safe to use as a greyhound tranquilizer prior to anesthetic, with a recommended maximum dosage of 1 mg of acepromazine. Safe anesthetic options for the induction phase include Telazol, propofol, and a combination of diazepam (better known as Valium) and ketamine. To maintain the anesthesia during surgery, isoflurane or sevoflurane is a safe choice. For shorter procedures, Rompun and its reverser Yobine, or Domitor and its reverser Antisedan, may be used.
Precautions before Anesthesia
Blood tests should be done prior to anesthesia to insure that the greyhound is healthy enough to undergo the anesthesia and the surgical procedure. Any greyhound, regardless of age, should have a platelet evaluation before undergoing anesthesia. Further, greyhounds between ages 7 and 10 need a partial chemistry panel and greyhounds older than 10 need to have a full blood chemistry panel prior to undergoing anesthesia.
Precautions during Anesthesia
Because greyhounds are susceptible to hypothermia while they are under anesthesia, they should be placed on a safe heat source while undergoing any procedure for which they are anesthetized. For surgical procedures requiring that a greyhound be under anesthesia for 45 minutes or more, IV fluids should be administered during surgery, according to Greyhound Pets of America.