Our 5.5y pug had died after his anesthesia started taking effect. He was there for Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome, and seemed healthy otherwise. He had removed few bad teeth 4 months ago with all the blood test being perfectly normal. On clinic, they did "full workout" testing and x-rayed his chest. All fine. The theory is, he was living with heavy oxygen debt and anesthesia slowing him down was simply too much. But looking at the invoice and quick call back there, the clinic didn't do any blood tests. They claim it's not a standard procedure and while I understand my knowledge is limited, it's killing me that could perhaps show something and prevent him undergoing the anesthesia.

How important a blood work is? Could it warn about low oxygenation?

EDIT: Clinic has explained a blood testing was deemed not needed according to their extensive practice and what they learned about him from other tests. Their original "he seemed healthy" was indeed backed up strongly when described in detail. They did experience a few similar cases but there's still no clue what are the indicators to look for, except all were brachycephalic dog breeds. Blood test wouldn't help with oxygen level. (see the accepted answer)


Where i live bloodwork is not done before surgery unless there is a medical condition that needs to be confirmed or excluded that might affect the outcome of the surgery.

Link: http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/dog-health/dog-checkups-preventive-care/why-does-my-dog-need-blood-work-anesthesia

Bloodwork will not show low oxygen and if it does it is just a picture of oxygen saturation at the exact moment in time when the sample was taken.

When surgery is done the vet will use a clip-on electronic oxygen meter to monitor the animal,This is the same type of equipment that is used on people in hospitals and it shows oxygen-saturation and heart rate.

The oxygen meter is used so the vet can monitor your pets vitalsigns continously during the surgery and failing to do so is the main reason for deaths under anesthesia.

Link: https://todaysveterinarypractice.com/anesthetic-monitoring-your-questions-answered/

A blood sample can show if your pet have an allergy to any of the medication used during surgery,But the bloodwork needs to be done well before any surgery is sheduled so the vet can get the results back from the lab.

  • Thanks for the oxygenation explanation. From the link you provided about blood work, it looks like a logical test to do before anesthesia. The explanation I've got was along the lines "it's usually redundant, we're saving time by doing tests which are more to the point, especially since the dog seemed healthy". That "seemed" part and the fact it wasn't communicated is stopping my sleep. Did you ever get a reasonable explanation why they're skipping blood testing at your place? – xius Jul 11 '19 at 7:55
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    often when one visit the vet it is a part of the regular chek-up and bloodwork is done,so there is less need to do it if the pet is known to the vet when surgery needs to be done.this is one of the reasons why it is smart to visit the vet when one get a new pet,so the vet have the important information and can look this up in an emergency. – trond hansen Jul 11 '19 at 8:42
  • This clinic was a specialized one, not our regular, local clinic. They didn't know him at all, we didn't bring our results, just explained it was well within standards. (truth) It's just disturbing and I fail to see their reasoning. I guess I'm looking for logical enough reason to accept what has happend as inevitable. – xius Jul 11 '19 at 9:12
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    all surgery have some risk involved and from time to time unexpected things do happen,this is why the monitoring is done and i think the clinic needs to give you a better more detailed explanation about what went wrong in your case.if you want to talk about it we can do this in chat. – trond hansen Jul 11 '19 at 9:31
  • Clinic has just called and indeed provided an explanation, answered all my questions. The info from blood wouldn't help them at all and made sense in our case. Thanks for your offer, very much appreciated, I do think I'm functioning ok for now. – xius Jul 11 '19 at 10:14

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