Educational Articles

Cats + Surgical Conditions

  • The anal sacs are two small pouches located on either side of the anus. The walls of the sac produce a foul-smelling fluid that is released when a cat passes a bowel movement. The anal sacs or their ducts can become inflamed or infected due to a variety of causes. Most cats will respond well to pain relief medications and antibiotics. If a cat has several episodes of anal sac disease, and dietary changes and supplements or medication do not relieve the problem, the anal sacs can be removed surgically.

  • Anesthesia is accomplished by administering drugs that depress nerve function. It is important that you fully understand what will happen to your pet, and that you acknowledge that you understand the risks. Anesthetic monitoring in a veterinary hospital is similar to that found in any human hospital. With today's anesthetics, many of which are reversible, your pet should be almost completely normal by the time of discharge.

  • Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive therapy that is used to examine, diagnose, and treat diseases and conditions that affect joints. It requires a specialized piece of equipment called an arthroscope which will allow your veterinarian to look inside the joint using a small fiber optic camera that is hooked up to a monitor. It often requires general anesthesia; however, small incisions in the joint allow for a quicker recovery than traditional methods allow. The recovery time will depend on the extent of the injury, but compared to traditional surgery, recovery time is generally much shorter.

  • Bandages and splints protect an injured or wounded area of the body. It is important to closely monitor your cat's bandage or splint to ensure it does not slip or become wet or soiled and to ensure there is no discharge or foul odors indicating infection. This handout explains optimal bandage and splint care for your cat at home as well as possible complications that will require veterinary attention.

  • Bladder stones are rock-like formations of minerals that develop in the urinary bladder. All stones form because of disease or inflammation in the bladder. The most common signs of bladder stones in the cat are blood in the urine and straining to urinate. Large stones may act almost like a valve, causing an "on-off" or partial obstruction at the neck of the bladder. In males, small stones become lodged in the urethra and cause an obstruction. X-rays (with or without contrast dyes) or ultrasound may be necessary for diagnosis. The fastest way to remove bladder stones is via a surgical procedure called a cystotomy. Special diets or passing a catheter may be successful for some bladder stones. Your veterinarian will advise you of the best course of action for your cat’s particular situation.

  • Blepharitis means inflammation of the eyelid and can affect one or both eyes. The affected eyelid will usually be red, swollen, and itchy. Any condition that can cause irritation of the eyelids can lead to blepharitis. Common causes of blepharitis include congenital abnormalities, allergies, infections, tumors, and occasionally other inflammatory disorders. Your veterinarian will conduct an eye examination to determine the extent of the eyelid involvement. Specific treatment for blepharitis will depend on the underlying cause of the disorder and the prognosis depends entirely on the cause.

  • Bowel incontinence refers to the loss of the ability to control bowel movements. There are two broad causes of fecal incontinence: reservoir incontinence and sphincter incontinence. In reservoir incontinence, intestinal disease interferes with the rectum’s ability to store normal volumes of feces. In sphincter incontinence, a structural or neurologic lesion prevents the anal sphincter from closing normally. Clinical signs, diagnostic testing, and treatment vary based upon the underlying cause.

  • Brachycephalic airway syndrome refers to a particular set of upper airway abnormalities that affect brachycephalic cats. The most common sign of the condition is mouth breathing and, in the long term, the increased effort associated with breathing can put a strain on the cat's heart. Surgery is the treatment of choice whenever the anatomical abnormalities interfere with a cat’s breathing.

  • Brain injuries are devastating and, unfortunately, often fatal. The typical signs of brain injury in a cat include altered consciousness that may signal bleeding in the skull, decreased blood flow to the brain, or fluid causing swelling within the brain itself. There are many potential causes of brain injury and treatment will always be determined by the underlying problem that led to the injury.

  • The general instructions for incision care are the same for all surgical incisions. There may be some differences, however, depending on the type of surgery and the material used to close the incision. This handout is a guide to caring for your cat's surgical incision(s) at home for optimal recovery.

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