Anesthesia is defined as the loss of ability to feel pain. This involves injecting the medication into a specific place in the skin (or applying it onto an area of the skin) to induce temporary localized numbness, allowing the veterinarian to perform a brief procedure.However, the term anesthesia is more commonly used to refer to a state of deep sedation or unconsciousness during which a patient is unable to feel pain. The affected area can include the skin, underlying muscles, and nerves.The medication used for local anesthesia does not cause the patient to fall asleep; when deep sedation or unconsciousness is required, general anesthesia is a better option.Medications used for general anesthesia are available in many forms.Some are administered by injection, whereas other forms are inhaled through an anesthetic mask or breathing tube that is connected to an anesthesia machine. Local anesthesia may be an option if your veterinarian needs to remove a small growth on your dog’s skin, perform a biopsy of a growth or an area of skin, use stitches to close a small cut or wound, or perform any type of minimally painful procedure during which unconsciousness is not required.General anesthesia is used for more invasive types of surgeries or for procedures likely to be very painful.Examples include repairing a broken bone or performing surgery involving the abdominal or chest cavities.Surgery is not the only time when anesthesia is recommended.
Anesthesia is sometimes used for taking x-rays of other areas of the body, especially if the patient is painful and positioning for x-rays would result in more pain.General anesthesia tends to cause muscle relaxation, which has additional advantages when x-rays of the body are required.Sometimes, local anesthesia and general anesthesia are used together for the same procedure.For example, some veterinarians use general anesthesia to place the patient into a state of unconsciousness, then inject a local anesthetic agent into the skin and underlying tissues where surgery will be performed.