Illustrated Articles

Cats + Surgical Conditions

  • 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.

  • The word cruciate means 'to cross over' or 'form a cross'. The cruciate ligaments are two bands of fibrous tissue located in each knee joint. They connect the femur and tibia (the bones above and below the knee joint). The knee joint of the cat is one of the weakest in its body. When severe twisting of the knee joint occurs; the anterior or cranial cruciate ligament most commonly tears or breaks.

  • This handout discusses the use of cryosurgery in pets. This technique involves the use of extreme cold to destroy abnormal or diseased tissues. A short discussion in included as to how the technique is used, and in what circumstances it may be appropriate to use.

  • Dental disease is one of the most common medical conditions seen by veterinarians. Approximately two-thirds of cats over three years of age have some degree of dental disease. The most common problems are due to periodontal disease, gingivitis and cervical neck lesions, also called oral resorptive lesions.

  • The diaphragm is the muscular partition that separates the abdomen and the chest. Tearing or disruption of this thin muscle is called a diaphragmatic hernia or diaphragmatic rupture. The most common cause of diaphragmatic hernia is blunt force trauma. Clinical signs are dependent on the severity of herniation. There is often respiratory distress, an abnormal heart rhythm, muffled heart and lung sounds, and other signs of systemic shock. The abdomen may feel empty when palpated. Once the patient is stable, the hernia must be corrected surgically.

  • 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. An FHO restores mobility to the hip by removing the head of the femur. This procedure is commonly recommended for cats, especially those who are at a healthy weight.

  • Wounds in cats often go undetected, but can cause significant problems the longer they are present. Wounds can be easily prevented by keeping your cat indoors, but if they occur, treatment by your veterinarian is recommended. Certain viral infections can cause wounds to persist and can be transmitted through biting.

  • 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.