Kitten Spay Complications

by Desiree
(Spokane, WA)

Reader Question

Hello! Today I took my kitten, Lou Lou to a clinic to get spayed. A 7 month female lynx point Siamese. She was a playful, healthy little cat. I dropped her off at 10am, and got the dreaded call a little before 4pm. It was the assistant director. He initially left a message saying Lou Lou had gone in to cardiac arrest and was having a tough time coming out of the surgery. I called him back and she had already passed. She apparently had a heart attack.

My question is; why did this happen? And do you think she could have been given too much medicine, or wasn't monitored correctly? I feel so terrible for my family and her brother Frenchie who is so used to having company. I ended the call asking the man to give me the night to make decisions as my head was spinning.

Any additional advice on picking a facility to spay/neuter a cat?

Reaction from Dr. Coates, DVM

Hi Desiree,

I am so sorry for your loss! What a tragedy. The only way to determine what might have happened is to have a necropsy (the animal equivalent of an autopsy) performed on Lou Lou and for a veterinarian who was not involved in her case to look over her medical records.

Medical mistakes do happen, but even when everything is done correctly there is the smallest of chances that a patient (animal or human) can die under anesthesia.

When picking a surgical facility, it is important to ask what their typical protocol is for the procedure in question. In my opinion, all cats who are scheduled for a spay should receive a complete physical examination on the day of the surgery, preanesthetic blood work within a week of surgery, have an IV catheter in place and IV fluids running throughout anesthesia, be intubated and maintained on gas anesthesia, and be monitored via pulse oximetry and an electrocardiogram during surgery.

Please take care of yourself during this difficult time.


Jennifer Coates, DVM

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