Either we dog breeders are turning out a bunch of severely defective dogs or our veterinarians are lying to us.
Can't count the number of times over the past few years that I have heard these stories:
Dog died getting teeth cleaned - anesthesia reaction
Dog died during spay/neuter surgery - anesthesia reaction
We are talking YOUNG dogs here, not old dogs with failing organs. Young dogs who were perfectly healthy prior to undergoing their procedures.
And if your vet says, it was an "anesthesia reaction" what are you to say? You weren't there, so you don't know what happened. You don't know if the dog was overdosed, or the tube came out before he was awake, or if it was really an "anesthesia reaction"; if your dog had some profound reaction to the anesthesia itself that killed him.
Would we accept our doctor's statement that our spouse/child/parent died during surgery due to an "anesthesia reaction"? You can bet the answer would be NO. There would be an investigation, and the parties involved would have to testify as to exactly what happened. Medical malpractice is the scenario, and thankfully is relatively uncommon. The threat of litigation keeps your doctor on his best behavior. He utilizes clinincal monitors and exercises his best judgement at all times. Anything less would be professional suicide.
But understandably, there is not the same standard of care for animals including our dogs. When the vet blames an "anesthesia reaction" you can suspect that possibly he didn't want to have to say, "I'm sorry, I didn't monitor him closely enough" or "Gosh darn it, I nicked an artery."
I hope to hear from some veterinarians on this, because I would love to be wrong on this. Are there many dogs who are so susceptible to anesthesia that it kills them outright, even while you have them intubated and on life support?
From Ron Hines, DVM: "We veterinarians are fortunate in that older, less predictable, anethesthetics have been replaced by compounds that are very predictable and safe when properly used."