Patients with Heart Disease CAN Have Anesthesia

Meet Bambi, a beautiful little terrier cross with severe periodontal disease. However, she also has significant heart problems, so her family veterinarian and owners did not want to put her under anesthesia.  Sadly, this allowed her teeth to get more and more infected.  Finally, she developed a nasal infection secondary to her severe periodontal disease, and the cardiologist referred her to Veterinary Dental Specialties & Oral Surgery.

After having the initial consult, Dr. Niemiec agreed that her heart disease was severe, and therefore he enlisted the help of Dr. Amber Hopkins (a board-certified veterinary anesthesiologist (yes they exist)).  She is pictured here with Bambi before her procedure.

Once Dr. Hopkins placed her under anesthesia, we could fully assess the extent of the infection.   First, She had an oronasal fistula on the upper right canine.

Oronasal fistula on the maxillary right canine (104).

She also had gum recession and furcation (the area between the roots) exposed of the lower first molars.

This bone loss was confirmed with dental radiographs.

The radiographs of the upper right confirmed the oronasal fistula as well as severe bone loss on the second premolar.

We extracted all of the diseased as well as closed the oronasal fistula. She did great with anesthesia and recovered normally.  Further, at the 2-week recheck she was feeling better than pre-op. This is just another example of a patient who suffered for a long time with painful dental disease due to fears of anesthesia.  The vast majority of patients can safely undergo anesthesia. For higher risk patients like Bambi, enlisting an anesthesiologist can make anesthesia even safer.