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Dr. Dave
Dr. Dave, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 4125
Experience:  21 years small animal general and emergency practice
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I have taken my 5 month old female British Short Hair Blue

Customer Question

I have taken my 5 month old female British Short Hair Blue for spaying this week who has suffered immensely from what I am being told is a routine operation.
The operation was Tuesday and slowly she has deterriorated in health, stop eating, drinking, sleeping or going to the toilet.
We had to rush her to the hospital this morning as her breathing was heavy and she was struggling, we thought this was the result of the anaesthetic wearing off and the soreness of the throat due to the tube down it during the process.
It transpires the vet is telling us it is not to do with the operation but she has a congenital heart condition following x-rays to show water on the lungs and an enlarged heart.
Why was this not detected at the preliminary stages of prepearing for an operation?
She is 5 months old showed no issues at all prior to this operation, runs around and plays with her brother all day long (they are hoiuse cats). The vet is telling me post-op stress, fatique and the journey to the practice will have 'sent her over the edge', really??
I am not convinced, I had a healthy cat the beginning of the week and now have a poor kitten in an oxygen chamber being 24hr monitored!
your help, advice, reassurance is much appreciated and needed at the moment!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Dave replied 2 years ago.
Dr. Dave :

Hello, and thanks for writing in. I'm sorry to hear that this is going on with Stormy.

Dr. Dave :

What kinds of tests were run before the surgery, if any?

Customer:

I am unaware of the procedures as we were asked to drop her off and return when called.

Dr. Dave :

OK, I understand. Although it is very sad, what your veterinarian is telling you is true. One of the most common causes of complications during or after surgery is an undiagnosed underlying heart condition, even in kittens. Most of the time they will not have any abnormal symptoms at home, and there will not be anything detectable on exam prior to surgery, but the "stress" of the anesthetic/surgery/etc. can cause the underlying heart problem start to show symptoms.

Customer:

I have been asked to take her to the 24hr monitoring practice, I would appreciate if you could advise on specific questions that will help me to understand this situation.

Customer:

I have a relative in the medical industry who is questioning whether ketamene was used as this can cause these symptoms, is this true?

Dr. Dave :

The best way (other than X-rays) to diagnose the exact underlying heart condition, would be an ultrasound of the heart. You may need to go see an internal medicine specialist to have this done. This would help with specific treatment, not only now, but in the long-term.

Customer:

Would a heart defect not be detected prior to this, the breeder has intensive checks before we purchased Stormy and her twin brother, Leon? The breeder is well established and has bred many a champion, at no time did we discuss defects, although we covered this in our questining.

Dr. Dave :

Ketamine would not cause heart disease. But, if there is already underlying heart disease, ketamine might possibly contribute to "bringing out" the heart disease symptoms. Ketamine is one of the most common drugs used as a pre-anesthetic/anesthetic agents in cats. Overall, it is a very safe drug. Of course, it may not be used if a cat has an already diagnosed heart condition, but the vast majority of kittens and adult cats don't have heart problems, so the drug is used very safely on a routine basis.

Dr. Dave :

A heart defect can only be diagnosed if a heart murmur or abnormal rhythm is detected with a stethoscope, but sometimes heart disease can be present in cats and the heart can sound normal. The only other ways to detect heart disease is possibly with X-rays, or ultimately with an ultrasound of the heart.

Customer:

Where i am to take Stormy this evening they are apparently able to take ultrasounds, I presume this will tell us the whole story. I suppose I am anxious at the moment as the vet really didn't give me the impression things are good. If this is a heart condition, can Stormy lead a normal life?

Dr. Dave :

So, unless the breeder can extensive testing (i.e. X-rays, ultrasound), they would not know 100% if there is an underlying heart problem or not.

Dr. Dave :

Sorry - "unless the breeder DID extensive testing..."

Customer:

I am going to have to go to pick Stormy up now, many thanks for the advice, it has given me enough details to have an informed conversation, much appreciated.

Dr. Dave :

You're very welcome - good luck with everything, and I hope Stormy does well. I will be thinking of both of you.

Customer:

Many thanks, ***** ***** the wife to console as well as one of her babies is sick!!

Dr. Dave :

I will be thinking of your wife also. I know this whole situation can be difficult to grasp.

Dr. Dave, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 4125
Experience: 21 years small animal general and emergency practice
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