Educational Articles

Cats + Surgical Conditions

  • The anal sacs are two small pouches located on either side of the anus at approximately the four o'clock and eight o'clock positions. The walls of the sac produce a foul smelling fluid which is released whenever the 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 (for several days until the swelling and inflammation have subsided. If a cat has several episodes of anal sac disease, and diet or supplements do not relieve the problem, the anal sacs can be removed surgically.

  • The word anesthesia comes from the Greek meaning "lack of sensation". Anesthesia is accomplished by administering drugs that depress nerve function. With general anesthesia, the patient is made unconscious for a short period. During this unconscious state, there is muscular relaxation and a complete loss of pain sensation.

  • Bandages or splints may be necessary at times if your cat has a wound or a broken bone. Bandages can be readily applied to the head, neck, chest, tail, or lower legs of a cat. Splints are usually applied below the knee on the back leg or below the midpoint of the humerus on the front leg. Home care is very important and you will need to monitor for changes closely. Your veterinarian will give you more specific directions for the length of time that your cat has to be bandaged.

  • Bladder stones (uroliths or cystic calculi) are rock-like formations of minerals that develop in the urinary bladder. There may be a large, single stone or a collection of stones that range in size from sand-like grains to gravel.

  • Blepharitis means inflammation of the eyelid. In most cases, the inflammation affects the outer two layers of the eyelids; in some cases it may spread to involve the inner lining or palpebral conjunctiva.

  • Brachycephalic syndrome occurs in cats that have anatomic abnormalities causing a more flat-faced appearance. These changes in anatomy cause restrictions in the cat's upper airways (including stenotic nares, elongated soft palate, hypoplastic trachea), and can eventually lead to everted laryngeal saccules. Common symptoms of this condition are open mouth breathing and snoring, but can worsen, leading to exercise intolerance, coughing, gagging, or retching. Diagnosis of elongated soft palate, everted saccules, and hypoplastic trachea will require deep sedation or general anesthesia. Cats with this condition may require only corticosteroids, oxygen, and environmental management, but surgery to correct the palate, nares, and everted saccules may need to be performed. Prognosis is good to guarded depending on the severity of the disease.

  • Brain injuries are devastating and, unfortunately, often fatal. There are both primary brain injuries that are the result of a direct insult to the brain, and secondary brain injuries that occur following the primary brain injury

  • A caesarean section or C-section is major surgery performed to remove kittens from the uterus. This is most commonly performed as an emergency procedure when there is difficulty with natural birth. Most cats recover quickly from this procedure. Most cats have fully recovered from anesthesia by the time they are discharged to go home.

  • Post-operative incisions in your cat may or may not have visible stitches. It is very important to follow the instructions to ensure appropriate healing. If your cat chews or licks excessively at the incision, there is a danger of the stitches being pulled out or of infection being introduced into the wound and you may need to use an Elizabethan collar to prevent this behavior. Do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian with any questions or concerns.

  • Cholangitis is a term referring to inflammation of the bile duct. Cholangiohepatitis means inflammation of the bile ducts, gall bladder, and surrounding liver tissue. Cholangitis and cholangiohepatitis usually occur together as a complex or syndrome (CCHC or CCHS) and is much more common in cats than in dogs.