How long will the cat be abnormal after anesthesia?

Your cat had anesthesia and or sedation today. You can expect that the effects may last for 24 hours or more. We don’t release a cat if we are concerned about their vital signs, but that doesn’t mean your prized “fur-person” is going to be normal when it first gets home. Some of the sedatives we use are long acting, that is a price we pay for their huge “margin of safety.”

What are these bald spots?

You may note that your cat has symmetrical bald patches – usually square or rectangular. These might be on the neck, forelegs or inside of the rear legs. These are shaved areas which facilitate our finding a vein to take blood samples. Of course, all surgical areas will have been shaved and you may note traces of iodine.

Why is my cat coughing?

For many surgical procedures – spays, bladder surgery, intestinal surgery, etc. – we place a breathing tube into the cats' wind pipe for gas anesthesia delivery. This also enables us to respirate the cat artificially if its breathing becomes depressed during anesthetic induction. These Endotracheal tubes are indispensable to insure safety, but they do cause minor irritation of the trachea. Many cats will have a mild to moderate dry cough for 1 to 3 weeks after such a procedure. More rarely, a cat might lose its “meow” or have it sound a bit scratchy, this also fades away. These are not serious symptoms it’s just that the trachea has poor blood supply so is slow to heal.

Why are blood tests and / or X-rays necessary prior to anesthesia?

Anesthesia is controlled poison, there is no such thing as anesthesia which is 100% safe. The modern anesthetics that we use are great, but still not perfect. Disasters involving anesthesia are often due to the presence of undiagnosed underlying problems with the liver, kidney, or heart. Pre-anesthetic blood testing is a good way to greatly improve your cat’s odds during anesthesia. If the Doctor suspects heart or lung problems he may suggest pre-anesthetic chest X-rays and EKG’s. Remember we all want the same thing – sage anesthesia with no surprises.

Dr William Sullivan