Client perceptions of the value of veterinary anesthesiologist involvement with anesthesia and pain management, benefits of a preanesthetic consultation, and quality of care for dogs undergoing elective orthopedic surgery

Ashley E. Mitek DVM, MS; Stuart C. Clark-Price DVM, MS; Berit L. Fischer DVM; Heidi Phillips VMD; Tisha A. Harper DVM, MS and David J. Schaefer, PhD
JAVMA, Nov. 15, 2019, Vol. 255, No. 10, Pages 1143-1149

OBJECTIVE  To compare perceptions related to veterinary anesthesiologist involvement with anesthesia and pain management, benefits of a preanesthetic consultation (PAC) with an anesthesiologist, and quality of patient care between clients who did and did not participate in a PAC prior to their dogs’ elective orthopedic surger

SAMPLE 80 dog owners.

PROCEDURES Owners of dogs undergoing elective stifle joint surgery participated in the study. Participants were randomly assigned to PAC and control groups (n = 40 participants/group). The PAC group participated in a PAC with an anesthesiologist and completed a written survey (12 items with Likert-type response options). The control group completed a similar survey (identical except for 2 statements related to the PAC experience) without participating in a PAC. Results were compared between groups by statistical methods.

RESULTS The proportion of clients in the PAC group who strongly agreed with the statements that a PAC was beneficial, their questions about the pet's anesthesia and pain management plan were answered, they knew who would perform anesthesia and what safeguards were in place, veterinary specialty hospitals should have an anesthesiologist on staff, they were willing to pay more to have an anesthesiologist supervise the anesthesia and pain management, and a PAC with an anesthesiologist should be standard of care in veterinary medicine was greater than that for control group clients. Responses to quality-of-care items did not differ between groups.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Participating in a PAC was associated with more positive perceptions of anesthesiologists and knowledge about the anesthesia plan. Further research with a validated survey instrument is needed to confirm these findings.