General Anesthetic

Q My five year-old female chow has a growth on her bottom eyelid. I forget exactly what the vet called it, but it fills with black stuff and after a while pops and bleeds. One vet suggested my squeezing it every week but it is too close to the eye — I’m afraid of scratching her eye. One of the options is to surgically remove it. But I am extremely leery of doing that because I read in the Chow Chow Reporter some years ago that Chows don’t handle general anesthetic well and have been known to die on the table. I work with a man whose 8-year-old male went in to be neutered and never regained consciousness. I am at a loss as to what to do. Please help with advice.

A All dogs can die from anesthetic. The reason I can think of why this might be happening is that some veterinarians have a fear of Chow Chows. In order to protect their safety they might choose to give a larger dose of anesthetic. I know a few vets that I have talked with that they would recommend to put a Chow Chow to down without any hesitation. Only because of the bad reputation that Chow Chows have been given. Since working with many different Chow Chows I know that it all depends on the veterinarian doctor and you want to take your Chow Chow to a doctor that you can trust and one that is comfortable working with Chow Chows.

We take various Chow Chows to the vets at least once a week, we use two different vets, and often they go under anesthetic without any problems. They have always done just fine. All the rescued Chow Chows are taken in to be spayed and neutered. Other times there are surgeries and they always do fine. The only serious threat that a Chow has is when a female has to have a C-Section to have her pups. Then there is a high risk of the mother not making it.

Before you go in to your vet, or before you decide on a vet, call around and check with the vets to see if they are good in working with Chows. Let them know your concerns and find out if they have worked with many Chows before. All vets can vary;,some have a very narrow minds on breeds such as the Chow. They won’t always say it either. When calling vets, make sure ask to speak with the doctors and not the secretaries. This way it is coming form the source.

Putting your Chow Chow under anesthetic can be a scary thought, so make sure you and your vet are comfortable doing this for the sake of your Chow Chows health. I hope this helps guide you and your Chow Chow to make the right choice. For more information and help be sure to check the Health Discussion forums where you can seek input from the community.


Was this Q&A helpful for you and your Chow Chow? If you have additional information or advice on general anesthetic and Chow Chows please feel free to share them in the comment below.


  1. Sandy on November 4, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    My Chow Chow went in for surgery to have his leg operated on this past June. I know and understand how important it is for anyone…. animal or human to properly prepare/fast before surgery. Although we were told no food or drink after midnight the night before, I pulled his water at 8:00 pm and fed him his dinner at 6:00 pm just to be safe. I dropped him off (I was very nervous) at the scheduled time 9:00 am. The surgeon called me around 11:00 …. my dog had aspirated and the surgeon ACTUALLY asked me if I wanted him to proceed with the surgery! I said NO..I am coming to get him. My dog ended up with Aspiration Pneumonia. He is ok now, but WHY in the world would this surgeon even consider going ahead with the surgery at the time??? My Vet (same hospital, different doctor) said my dog must be a slow digester and the next time surgery is scheduled she wants to be their and x-ray his stomach before surgery and no food 24 hours before surgery. What do you feel about this? Needless to say this surgeon will not be doing any surgery on my dog.

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