8.5 LOCAL ANAESTHESIA
Local or regional anaesthesia may be safer than general
anaesthesia in severely debilitated animals. Sedation is usually required, and perineural
injection, field block, surface analgesia, intravenous regional analgesia or epidural
and spinal injections can be used. Identification of anatomical landmarks may be
difficult in obese subjects.
Epidural anaesthesia is a useful procedure when the anaesthetic
is injected at the lumbosacral junction but cranial epidural should be avoided because
sympathetic fibres may be blocked causing hypotension.
Acupuncture has been recommended as a method of providing
analgesia for minor procedures in 'high risk' geriatric veterinary patients (Janssens
et al. 1988).