Is Anesthesia Dangerous for Cats with Cerebellar Hypoplasia?
Thankfully, it’s something that we don’t need to think about often, but when we do, it can be a serious concern for CH cat parents. Since our cats already have a certain degree of brain damage, will the anesthesia cause more damage? Can CH cats even handle anesthesia?
According to Cary, a veterinary anesthesiologist who has written about this on the CH Kitty Club’s Tips from Members page, there are no medical contraindications (conditions that make a procedure inadvisable) to any anesthetic technique for cerebellar hypoplasia cases. What does that mean in plain English? CH cats can be anesthetized. In fact, he said that if it’s for a standard procedure, like a spay or neuter, it shouldn’t be an issue.
Of course all operations come with a certain degree of risk. Fortunately, the odds of something happening to a healthy cat is pretty low. Cary said the percentage of healthy cats that die while under anesthesia is only 0.3%. However, that percentage increases if the cat is sick while being anesthetized.
And while we’ve all heard our share of anesthesia horror stories, your kitty doesn’t have to become one. You can improve your odds by having and experienced, competent vet perform the procedure.
If you’re not sure what to look for in a vet, Cary suggested these five characteristics:
- A competent, experienced vet who is familiar with performing surgeries on cats
- A vet who has a surgery team member who is dedicated to monitoring the cat while she is anesthetized
- A vet who routinely uses intravenous catheters in anesthetized cats
- A vet who routinely intubates the anesthetized cats; this makes sure that their airways stay open and they receive enough oxygen
- A vet who routinely monitors blood pressure. This will tell them if there’s a lack of oxygen reaching the brain, which could result in more brain damage.
In addition, don’t forget to let the vet know about your cat’s cerebellar hypoplasia. It’s tremendously important for your vet and their staff to be aware of any pet’s brain disorder when performing a medical procedure.
If you’re still concerned, have a serious talk with your vet about the procedure and your worries. A good vet will be happy to address all of your concerns.
Another idea would be to speak the vet or shelter that sterilized your cat prior to adoption. If your cat had to be anesthetized for that procedure — and obviously came through OK — they may be some folks you’ll want to consult with, too.
I realize that this is simply the tip of the iceberg on this topic, but I wanted to get the conversation started.
Are there any other vet techs out there who have experience with CH cats and anesthesia? Has your cat had a surgery that required anesthesia? How did the procedure go? Please share in the comments.