Most veterinarians can handle anesthesia safely for a wide variety of pets and procedures. But if your pet is at increased risk, a vet may decide it would be outside of his or her comfortable skill set for them to anesthetize your pet. In these cases, the vet might say something like, “Your pet is at increased risk of complications under anesthesia, and I don’t think it would be safe for them to undergo anesthesia.” Or they might offer you the option of bringing in a veterinary anesthesia specialist.
Your veterinarian wants what’s best for your pet. They will offer you the best options they know about.
Veterinary anesthesia specialists are rare in private practice; there are only about 40 in the country. Most of the vets who undertake the extra study to become anesthesia specialists go on to teach anesthesia in vet schools. Consequently, many veterinarians don’t realize that there is an option to bring in a specialist to handle anesthesia for higher risk pets.
We are lucky in Portland to have a veterinary anesthesia specialist in private practice!