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Cats + Surgical Conditions

  • An aural hematoma is a collection of blood between the cartilage and skin of the ear flap. It is most likely caused by trauma but can also be due to a bleeding disorder. If an underlying cause is determined such as infection, this needs to be treated as well. Hematomas may eventually resolve on their own, but there is a risk of permanent damage and they are painful, so prompt treatment is recommended.

  • Cats are curious by nature. They love to investigate new sights, smells, and tastes. Unfortunately, this curiosity can lead them into trouble. Cats are notorious for ingesting thread, wool, paper, rubber bands, plant materials, and small toys. Not all foreign objects pass through the digestive tract without complication.

  • A hernia occurs when a body part or internal organ protrudes through the wall of muscle or tissue meant to contain it. In the case of an inguinal hernia, these internal organs or structures have managed to make their way through the inguinal ring (an opening in the abdominal wall near the pelvis) to protrude into the groin area. The condition itself can be broadly classified as either acquired or congenital. In general, it is best to surgically repair an inguinal hernia at the time of diagnosis, as delaying can result in a more complicated and difficult procedure.

  • Otitis interna can cause some significant signs in your cat, including drooling from the side of the mouth, difficulty eating, inability to blink, and drooping eyelids, lips, and nostril on the affected side. If the specific cause can be identified, such as bacterial or fungal infection, treatment could involve long-term medications. Less commonly, surgery may be needed. Many cats will respond to treatment and recover well.

  • A joint luxation is a dislocation or complete separation between the bones that normally articulate to form a joint. Subluxation is the term referring to a partial separation of the joint. The most commonly subluxated joint in cats is the hip, although any joint can be affected. Your veterinarian may be suspicious of a joint subluxation based on a history of trauma and physical examination findings such as pain and limping. A radiograph is necessary to definitively diagnose a joint subluxation. In many cases, the joint can be reduced or replaced to its original orientation by a procedure called a closed reduction with prognosis being good if treated immediately.

  • Laser surgery is a procedure that generates a beam of light energy at a specific wavelength, resulting in the cutting of tissues. There are three major advantages of laser surgery when compared to traditional stainless steel surgical scalpels, which are decreased pain, decreased inflammation, and improved tissue healing. Routine procedures such as ovariohysterectomy and castration are commonly done with laser.

  • One especially dangerous type of foreign body in cats is referred to as a linear foreign body. This term describes long, thin objects such as string, yarn, and tinsel. If one end of the linear foreign body becomes lodged in the gastrointestinal tract, intestinal perforation may occur. The most common signs of a linear foreign body include vomiting, anorexia (refusal to eat), dehydration, and lethargy. If your veterinarian suspects a linear foreign body, your cat will need an exploratory laparotomy.

  • A luxating patella is a kneecap that 'pops out' or moves out of its normal location. Signs include intermittent lameness, an unusual 'skipping' on the affected leg when the cat walks or runs, or difficulty jumping. A luxating patella can be corrected surgically, especially if the patella luxates frequently. If your veterinarian performs surgery before arthritis or another knee injury occurs, the prognosis is excellent.

  • Mast cells are a type of white blood cell that plays a large role in allergic response through degranulation. Mast cell tumors (MCT) can occur in the skin, spleen, or gastrointestinal tract of cats. Their cause is unknown; however, many affected cats show a genetic mutation in the KIT protein involved in replication and cell division. Cutaneous MCTs most often appear as hard pale/white plaques or nodules, often around the head and they may be itchy. Splenic MCTs cause decreased appetite, weight loss, and vomiting. Intestinal MCTs may cause GI upset and bloody stools, and a mass may be palpable. Diagnosis is typically achieved via fine needle aspirate although histopathology can be used. Treatment usually requires surgical removal of the masses or the spleen. Sometimes, chemotherapy or radiation is needed.

  • If the nerves to the colon do not function normally, the muscles of the colonic wall will not contract properly. The muscles then become stretched and the colon enlarges in diameter. Rather than being pushed into the rectum in a normal manner, fecal material accumulates in the distended colon, resulting in severe constipation called obstipation. This massive enlargement of the colon and the resulting constipation is called megacolon. Megacolon is often treatable using a medical approach but some cases require surgical intervention called subtotal colectomy.