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Spaying and death under anesthesia

Discussion in 'Cats - all breeds / types' started by vicarc, Apr 19, 2004.

  1. vicarc

    vicarc New Member

    My kitten (5 months) had a near death experience today. She went to the vets for spaying and she died under anesthesia (her heart and breathing stopped). By pure miracle she came back to life a while later, they didn't do anything it just happened. She's now very grogy and slowly getting better.

    I live in an undeveloped country, and a lot of vets in this country (I wont name which one) are totally incompetant. Education standards here are dismal. There is also a general hatred of cats, some superstitious nonsense which doesn't help. There aren't the range of drugs available as in the west. The poor cat has had a rough start to life, I found her at 4 weeks, nursed her through months of ringworm with not proper drugs and I was doing what I thought was best for her. She is a really lovely moggy.

    Anyway my question is just how essential is spaying? My cat does not go outside so there's no chance of coming into contact with Toms. How difficult are female cats in season? I was hoping to put the spaying off until I go to a country with more vets. Also, can spaying be done under local anesthetic under sedation (ie not fully knocked out)?

  2. elizavixen

    elizavixen New Member

    Yikes. That must have been scary. I don't know about the local anesthesia thing. As far as dealing with a cat in heat, I don't think it would be that much trouble if she's inside. Maybe annoying, but that's it. Someone else here could tell you more I'm sure.
  3. Mary_NH

    Mary_NH New Member

    there are also health risks for not spaying cats - cats are meant to reproduce when they go into heat. They are breeding machines.

    Every heat a cat is allowed to go through brings her 5% chances closer of developing mammory cancer or pyrometria (uterine infection/cancer). So 2 heats her chances are now 10%, 4 heats up to 20% chance....you see where I'm going. These are just heat cycles - not getting pregnant. And a cat can go into heat 2x a year.

    I got this info from a vet when I was participating in a rabies clinic at the shelter.

    This isn't even having to deal with toms coming around and spraying everything in sight around your house. And possibly bringing horrible kitty diseases since it sounds like where you are living probably doesn't encourage vaccinating cats.

    Do they do pre-anesthesia testing where you are? Poor cats in that country.
  4. vicarc

    vicarc New Member

    reply to mary

    No, they did no tests. I wouldn't be at all suprised if they used dog doses on her and I'm very lucky she's alive. They didn't even have standard treatments for ringworm, I had to make up all sort of lotions and potions to get her through that.

    I am a responsible cat owner, I've had a cat before, that's why I wanted her spayed but what are my options if I live in country where they have very little experience of small animal veterinary practices and to top it all off the general population hate cats. We live in a high rise apartment so there's not risk of Toms making their way up to the 5th floor but I get your message about cancers etc. I will try my best to find a way around it, that's why I was wondering about local anesthetics rather than general anesthetics.

    Any practical advice would be appreciate.
  5. Mary_NH

    Mary_NH New Member

  6. fleafly

    fleafly New Member

    I'm sorry about your kitty's experience. Poor little thing.

    Cats have to be completely under to be spayed. They can't keep them semi-awake b/c the cat would feel pain and would not be cooperative.

    Some animals react badly to certain anasthesia. Ask the vet what drugs he used on her, then can you call around and talk to different vets to see what they use?

    My vet stopped using ketamine, which is a very popular drug, b/c she had some bad reactions and two cats died.

    There are also different anasthesia techniques. Normally an animal is given some pre-medicating drugs to make them easier to handle. Then right before the surgery they get a shot that puts them totally under for 1-2 minutes, long enough for the vet to get a tube down their throat and hook them up to the anasthesia machine.

    Instead of the shot before surgery, the vet can put a mask over their face and knock them out with the real anasthesia.

    If I were you I would figure out what that vet did, then try to find a vet that will use different techniques and different medication.

    Even in America cats sometimes die from spaying. It is very rare, but it happens.

    Did your cat actually have the surgery? From the post it doesn't sound like she did.
  7. moose

    moose New Member

    i am glad to hear your cat is ok. you will definitely want to get her spayed as soon as you feel comfortable with it, even if she is an indoor cat. once she goes into heat the only thing on her mind is going to be to find a mate. she will do *anything* to get out of the house to accomplish this goal -- i've heard of females in heat actually ripping screens off of the windows just to get out. not only that, she's going to be an absolute *pain* to live with -- yowling nonstop...especially when she senses a tom nearby. as if all this weren't enough, toms will be picking up on her scent (yes, even if she's indoors) from miles around and will all be on your property...fighting, even more yowling, spraying all over the place, and trying to rip the screens down to get inside to her. not something i'd want to live with.

    anyway, once you do get her to a vet you trust, you should have some pre-surgical bloodwork done in case this near-tragedy was caused by something internal in her and not just the vet's fault.
  8. vicarc

    vicarc New Member


    Thanks for your replies. I know you wont believe me but I really have very few options. I can't "shop around" for another vet like in Europe or America. I'm going to have to spell it out - I live in very remote and underdeveloped country. The kitten was rescued from the street at about 4 weeks old. The locals don't like cats, the ones that are there were left there by the Russians. There is one western veterinary practice funded by an American charity which has very limited access to drugs. It has one American vet who trains unskilled graduates in small animal medicine, I don't know if she was supervising. The vets there are generally not confident with cats simply because they don't like them. I feel very angry and let down. Not only did they have no drugs for something so simple as ringworm but they nearly killed my kitten. There are no other small animal clinics in the country!!!! I have a friend who is a vet in the countryside and he openly admited that he wouldn't have a clue where to start with a cat, he was never trained in cats/dogs and would not know what to do. Give him a cow or a sheep and he's happy. I know that animals and humans die under anesthesia but I know this clinic has had problems before with this sort of thing.

    I don't believe that local anesthetic/epidural style anesthesia can't be done, I had a laparoscopy while awake through my own choice (most people are knocked out for this procedure). i was totally numb from the waist down. the reason why they probably put cats fully to sleep is that they can be vicious. I will look into the drugs/anesthesia problem but it's unlikely I can ask for alternative drugs. What do I do, put her through it again knowing that she might die? It seems very cruel. do I have her put down or let her go back to street, that would be cruel to.
  9. elizavixen

    elizavixen New Member

    This may not be the popular choice but I see no problem in leaving the cat unspayed given the present circumstances. I have had a cat who was not spayed, she really did not give me much trouble (no tearing of blinds, etc). I think that is a better option than risking surgery again (at the same place) or putting her down or back onto the street.
  10. Mary_NH

    Mary_NH New Member

    all you can do is just keep a close eye on her health. Be aware of any possible discharge (which is usually a clear sign of any uterine cancer). Be sure she doesn't find a way out when she's in heat.

    Under the circumstances of where you live and the availability of vet care I'm not sure I'd even be willing to risk putting the kitten through that experience again.

    Print out some of the info given you and share it with the vet see if they have other options available.
  11. nern

    nern New Member

    Considering your unusal circumstances...I would just hold off on the spay for now until you move or come in contact with a reliable vet.
  12. vicarc

    vicarc New Member

    Holding off

    Hello, at the moment she's 5 months old. I have no idea when cats come on heat for the first time - could someone tell me, as I've mentioned I have never had an unspayed cat before.

    We'll be moving to the "next" country (my husband is a development worker) in late 2005 so I might hold off until we move unless by pure chance I find a way to get her to a proper vet.

    Is she too young for spaying, should I give it another go in 2 months. At the moment she weight just over 2 kilos to give you an idea of how big/small she is.
  13. moose

    moose New Member

    it all depends on the cat as to when she comes into her first heat. it happens to some as early as 4-5 months old -- of course, if it happens this early and she gets pregnant, the kittens usually don't make it, but it is something for people to think about when deciding the proper age to spay their cat.

    average age of a cat's first heat is between 6 and 9 months; however, you may not even notice it.

    i agree with the rest of the posters on this thread that you should wait to have her spayed until you reach a more developed country that has the means to do it properly -- i do think you need to be extra careful with this cat though, even if you do live on the 5th floor of an apartment building. i really think you'd be amazed to see some of the things cats will do just to mate.
  14. fleafly

    fleafly New Member

    Maybe you can talk to the actual vet and see if he/she will personally perform the surgery b/c of the problems your kitty had.

    Unless you can find alternative drugs or a vet you feel more comfortable with, I would also try to wait to spay her until you go to a more developed country.

    The risk of her dying doesn't outweigh the cancer risks at this point. I think the worst thing will be putting up with her heat cycles. Some cats are very annoying when they are in heat.

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