Anesthesia and Surgery

Laparoscopic Surgery at AHNA - Asheville vets - Animal Hospital of North AshevilleLaparoscopic (Minimally Invasive) Surgery

Both you and your pet benefit from minimally invasive surgery as there is much less pain, less anesthesia time, fewer potential complications and minimal recovery period as compared to traditional abdominal surgery. With traditional surgery, your pet is often hospitalized for several days; however with laparoscopic surgery, you can often bring your pet home the same day.

In our continuing efforts to provide both you and your pet with the best and most advanced veterinary care possible, we have purchased state-of-the-art video laparoscope and ultrasonic scalpel. The Johnson and Johnson Ethicon Ultracision Harmonic Scalpel is the most advanced cutting tool in the medical field. It not only cuts and coagulates simultaneously; it is the ultrasonic scalpel of choice in most human hospitals. This instrument is typically not available for use in veterinary applications, but since we strive to maintain the highest standards possible, we have decided to employ this technology for our animal patients.

In a traditional surgery, a large incision is made in the underside of your pet's abdomen. The surgeon opens up the incision and the abdominal cavity is exposed. After the surgeon performs the necessary procedure, your pet's abdomen is stitched together, often with several layers of sutures. Another layer of skin sutures is required in order to complete the surgery. This procedure is often quite painful as ligaments are stretched, bleeding occurs and organs are bruised.

By performing the procedure laparoscopically, there is no major incision, your pet experiences less trauma and minimal pain. Laparoscopic procedures are performed through one or two small holes in the abdomen, typically 3/16" in size. After inserting the thin laparoscopic tube, we are able to perform surgery with magnified views of the organs, allowing for greater precision, less bruising and less bleeding. Since the organs are carefully cut and cauterized (rather than torn), your pet experiences much less pain, fewer potential complications, minimal recovery period and a faster return to normal function as compared to traditional abdominal surgery.

Advantages of Laparoscopic Surgery over Traditional Surgery:

  • Smaller incisions that are less painful
  • Controlled cuts minimize pain and bruising
  • Reduced surgical time and fewer potential complications
  • Less anesthesia needed
  • Allows for excellent visualization of abdominal organs
  • Surgery is performed through a few tiny incisions rather than a large abdominal opening
  • Reduced recovery time
  • Our veterinarians are highly-trained in Laparoscopic Surgery and we are proud to be the first hospital in Western NC to offer this minimally-invasive technique to our family of clients and pets.


In order to provide our clients and their pets with the most comprehensive veterinary care available, our doctors and staff members work as a team. Every day, our team of veterinarians assesses each hospitalized pet, thereby providing a coordinated approach to personalized care. We feel that the combined efforts of all our veterinarians, particularly on challenging cases, provide the best opportunity for accurate diagnosis and treatment of our patients. There is no additional cost for our team approach, and we are pleased to offer it to all our hospitalized pets.

Now we have even gone one step further. Since your pet's medical care is our only priority, we are happy to offer one of the most inclusive telemedicine capabilities available.

When making clinical decisions, time is often of the essence. If we need to consult specialists in an emergency situation, or require a second opinion on an x-ray, cardiology case or ultrasound, board-certified veterinary specialists are available 24-hours a day, seven days a week for fast, accurate telemedicine consultations.

The ability to consult with board-certified veterinary specialists in all fields of medicine and surgery 24-hours a day, in essence, has added a full array of specialists to our staff. For a small fee, when a telemedicine consultation is needed, we send data over the internet and usually receive a written report from a specialist within 30 minutes. With telemedicine, a costly trip to a university or a specialist is often avoided.


Electrocautery is a less invasive alternative to traditional surgery. Electrocautery replaces scalpels in many procedures, and is useful for a wide range of conditions such as cyst, tumor, and wart removal. This technology can even be used in declawing.

Electrocautery procedures result in less pain, less bleeding and less swelling for your pet than compared with traditional surgery with scalpels. Electrocautery requires less anesthesia time and also reduces the risk of post-operative infection and discomfort.

Anesthesia Services

Many factors influence the safety of your pet's anesthesia experience and this is not the place to "cut corners!" If your pet requires anesthesia, he or she is admitted to the hospital and a complete physical examination is performed by one of our doctors. If blood tests have not recently been performed on your pet, pre-anesthetic blood tests are strongly recommended. These tests are chosen based upon risk factors for your pet and the information is used to identify any pre-existing conditions that may complicate the use of anesthesia.

Anesthesia is individualized for each pet based upon a number of factors including the type of procedure, pre-existing conditions, blood test values, age, breed and prior anesthetic experience. We limit the amount of anesthesia (without sacrificing pain control) by employing pre-medications, local anesthetics, epidurals and by using continuous rate infusions of pain medications. Your pet's anesthesia time is also reduced by having a highly trained and organized surgery team, utilizing the most up-to-date instruments that shorten surgery procedure time. By using these instrument, we can cut your pet's anesthesia and surgery time by up to 50 percent. In order to provide the safest anesthesia experience possible, we test our anesthesia machines prior to each use and have them tested and certified yearly by an independent professional company.

Because hypothermia is a common risk factor for animals undergoing anesthesia, we provide your pet with a soft circulating warm water pad. Each pet undergoing surgery is wrapped in a sanitized blanket and warmed by a Bair-Hugger (human surgery) Warmer. During anesthesia and surgery, your pet is constantly monitored by a trained veterinary technician as well as with an advanced electronic monitoring device that measures 6 vital parameters (EKG, respiration, pulse oximeter, capnomitry, core body temperature and blood pressure). Additionally, all surgery patients receive IV fluids through an IV catheter in order to maintain blood pressure, hydration and as route for immediate administration of emergency medications if ever needed. Anesthesia and surgery can vary greatly from one veterinary hospital to another and we try to maintain the safest anesthesia and surgery protocol for each of our patients.

pain management - Asheville vets - Animal Hospital of North AshevillePain Management

Like us, your pet feels pain and discomfort. Recognizing and alleviating pain in your pet is the essence of good patient care. Every hospitalized pet at the Animal Hospital of North Asheville has his or her pain level charted (evaluated and documented). Management of your pet's pain is a top priority throughout the twenty-four hour nursing care that our staff members provide.

Our standard hospital procedure is based around pain elimination and we are dedicated to perfecting that art. In April, 2002, we closed our doors to the public and welcomed two specialists who spoke at our hospital about the latest techniques and advances in pain control. We have had repeated visits from pain specialists in order to keep up-to-date with the latest techniques. Whether we are administering epidural anesthesia or the latest pain medications, we want to provide your beloved pet with a painless and stress-free experience.

Blood transfusion - AHNA - Asheville vetsBlood and Plasma Transfusion

In order to provide your pet with comprehensive care, the Animal Hospital of North Asheville maintains a supply of blood and plasma for medical, surgical or emergency needs. Our well-qualified technicians perform blood typing in order to reduce possible transfusion reactions. We also stock various blood substitutes such as Hetastarch and Oxyglobin. Our large pharmacy inventory also includes a large selection of various types of IV and SQ fluids. Our technicians have had extensive training in the gentle placement of sterile and comfortable IV catheters. We also train clients how to administer fluids at home for pets who benefit from frequent, long term fluid administration.


Medical Boarding

Since opening in 1977, we have chosen not to board healthy, active, vocal pets. Our mission of maintaining a low stress environment for sick or post-surgery pets does not allow us to board healthy, vigorous, barking dogs. There are many excellent local facilities for boarding your pet. However, as one of the premiere veterinary hospitals in the United States, our unique and only focus is on our sick and surgery patients. We are happy to provide medical boarding to pets who are geriatric or to pets who have special medical needs such as injections, testing or those who have ambulation problems.

We encourage you to visit your pet if he or she is in our medical boarding area.