Introducing…Our Anaesthesia and Analgesia Service!
We are almost half way through our tour of The Ralph’s services. Today’s instalment is all about anaesthesia and analgesia.
Many of the animals that visit The Ralph will need investigations (e.g. a CT or MRI scan), operations, or other procedures. We need our patients to be still to perform these as safely and effectively as possible. Sometimes we can achieve this using sedation alone. But often our patients will need general anaesthesia under which they lose consciousness, relax and do not feel pain. Besides general (whole body) anaesthesia, we can also provide more targeted anaesthesia to smaller areas. We refer to this as local or regional anaesthesia.
We understand that pet carers worry about their companions having a general anaesthetic. This is especially so when the animal is older, very sick or has an existing condition such as heart disease. Modern veterinary anaesthesia is very safe but, of course, not risk free. At The Ralph we will do everything we can to minimise the risks.
Under the guidance of our specialist anaesthetist, Eva, we will offer the latest techniques to ensure first class care. Eva will review the patient’s medical history and perform a pre-anaesthetic examination. She will then create a tailored anaesthetic protocol. Once we have anaesthetised the patient, we will watch them very closely. Sophisticated monitoring equipment supplements close attention by our experienced team. We will keep a detailed record for every patient. This will include the drug protocol used and their vital parameters (e.g. heart rate, breathing, temperature) throughout their anaesthetic. This close attention continues during recovery until the patient is fully awake.
We will have a range of state of the art anaesthetic machines at The Ralph. In our surgical theatres, the anaesthetic machines have a built-in ventilator. This will allows us to breathe for patients who cannot breathe well enough on their own which can occur for various reasons.
Analgesia means ‘loss of pain sensation’. Virtually every patient that we sedate or anaesthetise receives pain relief according to their individual needs. This is often started soon after admission and continued throughout their stay as well as following discharge. There are a variety of pain-killers (analgesics) available for use in dogs and cats. Eva can also perform procedures such as epidurals and nerve blocks. She will help to ensure that all patients under the care of The Ralph are as comfortable as they can be.
Our anaesthesia and analgesia service will be a core service at The Ralph. It will support many of the other clinical services to provide excellent and compassionate care. So without further ado let’s meet Eva who is the lady making it all possible…
Making it all possible…
Evdokia (known as Eva) Psatha
After obtaining the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree in 1999, Eva spent two years in general veterinary practice in Athens (Greece).
She then continued her studies by completing a Master of Science in Veterinary Anaesthesia at the Veterinary University of Utrecht in the Netherlands between 2002-2003. The Master degree included clinical work and a research project on using a pain scale for assessing postoperative pain in dogs. This scale, called the Glasgow Composite Measure Pain Scale, is now widely used in veterinary hospitals in the UK to evaluate post-operative pain in dogs.
Eva then went to the Royal Veterinary College in London in 2005, to complete a three-year residency in Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia, during which she gained her RCVS Certificate in Veterinary Anaesthesia. Since finishing her residency, Eva has worked in various referral centres in the UK, including Davies Veterinary Specialists, Southfields Veterinary Specialists, Animal Health Trust and Paragon Veterinary Referrals. Eva also had a one-year Lecturer position at the School of Veterinary Science, University of Liverpool covering maternity leave, where she enjoyed the clinical work and teaching undergraduate students.
Eva is particularly interested in pain management and in anaesthesia for brain and heart surgery.
Eva has a 10-year-old rescue Dobermann named Hudson, who loves people but does not know how to greet other dogs!
Thanks for taking the time to read about our anaesthesia and analgesia service, and for getting to know Eva and Hudson. Stay tuned for our next instalment as we continue our tour around the hospital.
The Ralph Team