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Cats + Surgical Conditions

  • Alveolar osteitis, also called expansile osteitis, is a relatively common condition that results from chronic periodontal disease in cats. It is painful and can interfere with grooming and eating. If this disorder is detected early, it may be possible to treat the disease without tooth extraction by performing thorough periodontal therapy (dental cleaning and scaling).

  • An FHO, or femoral head ostectomy, is a surgical procedure that aims to restore pain-free mobility to a diseased or damaged hip by removing the head and neck of the femur (the long leg bone or thighbone). This procedure is commonly recommended for cats, especially those who are at a healthy weight. Active cats often experience better results with FHO than less-active cats. It is important to follow your veterinarian's post-operative instructions. Most cats will show signs of complete recovery approximately six weeks post-operatively.

  • Usually caused by a bite from another cat, fight wound infections can lead to the development of an abscess (a pocket of pus) or cellulitis (pain and swelling in the area of the bite). A cat’s sharp canine teeth can easily puncture the skin of another cat, leaving small, deep, wounds that seal over quickly, so it is important that your cat is seen by a veterinarian for treatment as soon as possible after being bitten.

  • Glaucoma is a disease of the eye in which the pressure within the eye, called the intraocular pressure (IOP), is increased. Glaucoma is caused by inadequate drainage of aqueous fluid. Glaucoma is classified as primary or secondary. High intraocular pressure causes damage to occur in the retina and the optic nerve. Blindness can occur very quickly unless the increased IOP is reduced. Analgesics to control the pain and medications that decrease fluid production and promote drainage are often prescribed to treat glaucoma. The prognosis depends to a degree upon the underlying cause of the glaucoma.

  • 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.

  • Hyperthyroidism is a common condition in older cats caused by excess thyroid hormone release resulting in an increased metabolic state. Hyperthyroidism can cause weight loss despite a good appetite, increased water consumption and urination, vomiting, diarrhea, cardiomyopathy, and hypertension. Diagnosis is made by testing blood thyroid hormone levels. Several successful treatment options exist, including medication, thyroidectomy, radioactive iodine, and a prescription diet. The prognosis with treatment is generally good.

  • Cats are curious by nature, which can lead them into trouble, especially when they ingest items not meant to be eaten, such as thread, wool, paper, rubber bands, plant materials, and small toys. While some will pass through the digestive tract, some foreign bodies can cause serious problems. This handout explains foreign bodies in the intestinal tracts of cats and reviews clinical signs, diagnostic tests, treatment, and the prognosis of these situations.

  • 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 is a serious condition that can cause significant signs in your cat, including drooling from the side of the mouth, difficulty eating, inability to blink, and drooping eyelids, lips, and nostrils on the affected side. Treatment may involve long-term medications if the underlying cause can be identified, such as bacterial or fungal infection. 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.