Anesthetic and analgesic techniques used for dogs undergoing ovariohysterectomies in general practice in the United States

Published:August 08, 2022DOI:



      To acquire information about anesthesia and analgesia protocols used by United States (US) veterinarians in primary care practices when performing routine ovariohysterectomy in dogs.

      Study design

      Cross-sectional survey.


      Primary care veterinarians in the US.


      An online anonymous survey, originally created in New Zealand, was modified with permission and made available to Veterinary Information Network (VIN) members. The survey asked questions about performing ovariohysterectomy in healthy adolescent dogs in the categories of preanesthetic evaluation, premedication and induction protocols, maintenance protocols and monitoring equipment, and postoperative analgesic and sedation protocols and pain assessments.


      A total of 1213 US veterinarians completed the survey. Respondents (n; %) reported performing preoperative laboratory tests [packed cell volume (135; 11%), complete blood cell count (889; 73%) and biochemistry panels (1057; 87%)] and preanesthetic examinations on the morning of surgery (1083; 90%). The most commonly administered drugs for premedication were acepromazine (512; 42%), hydromorphone (475; 39%) or butorphanol (463; 38%), with propofol (637; 67%) for induction of anesthesia and isoflurane (882; 73%) for maintenance of anesthesia. Most veterinarians reported placing intravenous catheters (945; 78%), administering electrolyte solutions (747; 67%) and providing heat support (1160; 96%). Perioperative and postoperative analgesia included local anesthetics (545; 45%), opioids (844; 70%) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (953; 79%); NSAIDs were dispensed for home use (985; 81%). Dogs were most frequently discharged on the day of surgery (1068; 88%) and the owners were contacted (914; 75%) for follow-up within 1–2 days.

      Conclusions and clinical relevance

      Anesthetic management for routine ovariohysterectomy in dogs varies among US veterinary VIN members. Information from this study is useful for all veterinarians for comparison with their practice management and for teachers of veterinary anesthesia to continue to emphasize options for analgesia.


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