Category Archives: Surgeries

Anesthesia and Surgery at AHDC

Hi friends,

Having been declawed, neutered, and undergone several dental procedures, this cat has had multiple run-ins with anesthesia. While some of my experiences happened before I came to AHDC, I wanted to let everyone know a little bit about what my vet and tech friends do to keep your pets safe and pain free.



  • Before any of your pets are anesthetized, my vets check their bloodwork to be sure there are no underlying issues that may need to be addressed or if any anesthesia adjustments are needed before going “under the knife.”
  • We (sometimes I supervise) individualize all anesthetic plans based on your pet’s age, health, and energy level; and also based on the procedure being done. We also use the safest anesthesia out there. Many of the drugs we use are also used in people since we pets are equally important!
  • We are all about the pain meds! My technicians want all the animals to be comfy and cozy before, during, and after surgery. All the surgery patients get a little something to take the edge off before surgery and help prevent pain during and afterwards. Sorry parents, we can’t prescribe anything for your nerves, just your pet’s. After surgery, everyone who needs it gets pain medications for the next couple days after surgery. And if your pup or kitty is still painful, all you have to do is call and we will do our best to fix that.
  • While your friend is under anesthesia, the awesome AHDC technicians are closely watching all the vitals (heart, blood pressure, oxygen level, etc). They stay with your pet from beginning to end to make sure they are safe and make any adjustments needed.
  • I don’t remember how or when I was declawed, but any kitten or cat declawed at AHDC is kept as comfortable as possible. Before the procedure, they have a nerve block around their tootsies to prevent any sensation during the procedure. My vets use a surgical laser which really helps minimize the trauma and bleeding during the surgery. My cat friends heal so much faster and generally are ready to get back to their normal routines (but just because they feel they are ready, doesn’t mean they are just yet).
  • I have had at least 2 dental cleanings and several teeth extracted. My doctors take xrays of my teeth while I’m asleep to make sure they catch any disease under my gums. They can also do the same for your pet to be sure any dental issues are found and treated. That way your friend will have less mouth discomfort and a clean bill of dental health when they wake up and go home with you.

Basically, my AHDC people want all your pets/kids/friends to be as safe and comfortable as possible while undergoing procedures that can be a little scary for them and their parents.

Laser Therapy for Pets?

Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) uses light to help reduce pain and inflammation and also injuries to heal more quickly. Our laser is very safe, painless to your pet and is valuable for treating many painful conditions. Virtually any disease process that involves inflammation can be helped with laser therapy. One of the most common applications of laser therapy in veterinary medicine is musculoskeletal disease and injury. The laser is effective in helping injured muscles heal more quickly, as well as improving the function of muscles that have been strained because of arthritis, hip dysplasia or other injury. Dogs recovering from orthopedic surgery benefit from laser treatment, as inflammation and pain are decreased while the circulation improves. Wounds and incisions heal more quickly when treated with the laser. Most treatments take five to 15 minutes and sedation is not necessary. Generally, a typical treatment plan includes six treatments over three weeks. Additional treatments can be done if necessary.

Another reason to always spay and neuter your pet

“Jackson” is 6 months old and he was at the hospital last week to get neutered. Jackson had a unique circumstance because he was cryptorchid. This means that his testicles did not descend from his abdominal cavity as they should have. Not neutering a cryptorchid pet is dangerous because it increases the pet’s risk for cancer later in life. This is another reason why it is important to spay and neuter your pet.

Why We Use “Human” Anesthesia

It is one of the scariest things we do as pet owners: drop off our dogs and cats for surgery. Just the idea of our “kids” going under anesthesia can induce stomach-turning anxiety. That’s why we use human-grade anesthesia at the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County. It’s called Sevoflurane and it’s the safest gas anesthetic available for animals today. It is commonly used in human medicine. Years ago we moved to it because dogs and cats just wake up better on it. They wake up rapidly and smoothly after surgery. Continue reading Why We Use “Human” Anesthesia

Melissa’s Miraculous Recovery

Melissa after Dr. Kepner's surgery.
Everyone who hears Melissa’s story would consider this kitten’s life a miracle. Melissa luckily found her way to the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County thanks to Castaway Critters, the wonderful, local no-kill rescue organization that helps sick and abandoned animals. Melissa was found on the side of the street with a severe head injury by a Good Samaritan. When we first saw Melissa she hardly looked like she’d ever make it through the night. Her right eye was damaged beyond repair and part of her skull was broken.
Dr. Kepner and Melissa
Dr. Jim Kepner, one of our senior veterinarians, performed the surgery. He repaired her skull, cleaned out her eye and sewed her up. Our caring nursing staff then took over. We gave her tons of TLC, and Melissa made a beyond-miraculous recovery.
Melissa today
Melissa is currently living with her foster mom and foster brothers and sisters. She was recently in to visit with her adoptive mom and looked amazing. We hardly even recognized her. This is just one story about the great things that Castaway Critters does. We work with them almost every day. Without their support, who knows what would have happened to Melissa. For more information or to donate to Castaway Critters please visit their Web site