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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.

  • 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 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 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • A cataract is an increase in the opacity of the lens of the eye. There are many potential causes of cataracts because any type of damage to the lens can lead to a cataract. The clinical signs of cataracts vary significantly, depending on the size of the cataract; many cataracts are asymptomatic at the time they are diagnosed during a veterinary exam. The ideal treatment for cataracts is surgery, but not all cats are candidates for surgical treatment. In these cases, anti-inflammatory medications may be used to prevent glaucoma and other secondary complications of cataracts.

  • 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.