About Anaesthetic Pro

My name is Brian Dixon. I have worked as a general practitioner for the past 30 years. Twenty eight of those years have been spent in New Zealand and two in England. In that time I have worked with a variety of species including production and companion animals. My focus changed many years ago to companion animal surgery. Other than management commitments, this is where I now spend the majority of my time.

Ten years ago I put together a small database to calculate pre-anaesthetic doses. This was a very basic setup but made life a little easier for staff by allowing them to make quick, accurate calculations. Over the years, this has evolved and grown into a more comprehensive application, Anaesthetic Pro (AP).

As a GP with a special interest in surgery I have gained a vast experience (both good and bad) in the administration of anaesthetic agents under a variety of clinical situations. Very few animals in this world have the luxury of a specialist anaesthetist when undergoing anaesthesia. General practitioners, nurses, or technicians administer the vast majority of anaesthetics. It is for this group that AP was developed.

When I started working on AP I wanted something that was easy to use, accurate, and flexible so we could improve the level of care we provided our patients. This was not an easy task, and it quickly became apparent how much variability exists in the veterinary world when it comes to medications and their dose rates. Some compromise had to be made to present drug dose ranges that are safe but effective. After much reading and research I have compiled a list of products currently supported for use in companion animals. Dose rates were the hardest aspect to try and standardise. I have taken a conservative approach where necessary to try and ensure patient safety. Very few of the sedation, anaesthetic, and pain control medications are licensed for multiple species (if any). Cost prohibits this so we use these products ‘off label’. This means we are dependant on others reporting safe dose rates and routes before we also use these products.

Much has changed in 30 years. I am excited by the move to achieve patient ‘pain free’ status. It is no longer acceptable (and is completely unnecessary) for animals to experience uncontrolled post op pain.

I have deliberately avoided mention of NSAIDs. These are common in veterinary practice and as such most clinicians are familiar with their use and contraindications. For this reason I have left them out of Anaesthetic Pro at this stage.

Anaesthetic Pro is a work in progress. I look forward to your comments, suggestions, and corrections. We have found it to be an invaluable tool in our workplace and it has contributed significantly to staff being more aware of patient comfort and safety.