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Cats + Surgical Conditions

  • After arriving at home, you should keep your cat warm and comfortable by providing a soft clean bed, ideally in a quiet and draft-free room at a comfortable room temperature. Your cat should remain indoors. For most procedures, your cat's activity should be restricted for one full week after surgery. Some cats experience nausea after general anesthesia, so dividing meals into smaller portions may decrease the risk of nausea and vomiting.

  • Pyometra is defined as an infection in the uterus. Pyometra is considered a serious and life threatening condition that must be treated quickly and aggressively. Pyometra may occur in any sexually intact young to middle-aged cat; however, it is most common in older cats. Typically, the cat has been in heat within the previous 4 weeks.

  • Cryptorchidism is the failure of one or both testicles to descend into the scrotum. Some purebred cats are more at risk, but it can affect any cat and is believed to be an inherited trait. Diagnosis can usually be made by palpation but sometimes requires blood testing or abdominal ultrasound if the cat’s history is unknown. Risks of retained testicles include testicular cancer, spermatic cord torsion, and the development of undesirable male characteristics, so neutering is strongly recommended. Surgery is generally routine, and recovery is similar to any abdominal surgery.

  • Cats scratch and claw for several reasons: scratching serves to shorten and condition the claws, scratching allows an effective, whole body stretch, and cats scratch to mark their territory. There is usually a non-surgical solution to scratching issues.

  • Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a tumor of the cells that make up the contact or upper layer of the skin. UV light exposure has been described as a developmental factor in people and appears to be associated with its development in cats. Areas affected include the ear tips, skin, toes, or peri-ocular region. Fine needle aspiration or biopsy may be performed for diagnosis. The metastatic rate does not appear overly clear, though staging is always recommended. SCC of the toe can occur as a primary tumor or may have spread from the lung (lung-digit syndrome). Surgery is almost always recommended in any case of SCC; the role of chemotherapy is controversial. Radiation therapy has an excellent response rate in cats with the SCC affecting the nasal planum and may give long-term tumor control.

  • Struvite bladder stones are one of the most common bladder stones in cats. In some cats, struvite bladder stones form as a result of a urinary tract infection. Signs of bladder stones typically include frequent urination, straining to urinate, blood in the urine, and urinating outside of the litterbox. If your cat is having urinary issues, your veterinarian will first recommend a urinalysis. Blood tests, abdominal radiographs, and ultrasound may also be recommended. Medical dissolution and surgical removal are two categories of treatment. Cats who have developed struvite bladder stones are likely to experience a recurrence later in life, unless the conditions that led to the formation of stones can be corrected.

  • The post-operative period is just as important as the surgery itself. Following the set instructions will help avoid complications and lead to a smoother recovery. Monitor the incision daily for signs of redness, swelling, discharge, or excessive licking. Consider using an Elizabethan collar to keep your cat from licking the incision site. Should you have any concerns, contact your veterinarian immediately.

  • The main objectives of fracture repair are to promote rapid healing of the fracture and to get the cat using its leg as quickly as possible. In most cases, this involves rebuilding the broken bone and fixing it in that position with metallic implants. Post-operative care includes pain medications, antibiotics, adequate nutrition, exercise restriction, and physiotherapy. Most fractures can be repaired very effectively and in many cases, your cat will resume normal activity.

  • Total ear canal ablation and bulla osteotomy (TECA-BO) is a surgery performed to remove the ear canal and a portion of the middle ear. This surgery is performed in cases where the pet is suffering from chronic and unresponsive ear infections. The surgical technique, reasons for performing the procedure, the diagnostic steps, and potential post-op complications are outlined in this handout.

  • Damage to the tympanic membrane and middle ear infections can be very painful for cats and cause a variety of clinical signs affecting the skin and nervous system. Diagnosis often requires a thorough ear examination with testing while your cat is under sedation or anesthesia. The treatment methods and prognosis depend on the nature of your cat's condition.