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Death following spay

July 10th, 2005, 02:59 PM
My sister decide on early spay for her kitten Daisy, and she was done four days ago - at sixteen weeks.
They were concerned about the swelling of the incision, and when I visited on Friday, they showed me right away - for my opinon. I also thought it didnt look right. It was 5 years ago that my own cat was spayed - but I didnt recall the incision looking so "open". However, they had brought her back to the vet for a recheck just the day before, he said she was ok. He put a staple in the incision, as she had removed some of her stitches.
She was eating and moving around, but they were still very worried about her - and rightly so. She became very ill later that night, they rushed her back to the vet, and now she has died. :sad:

Complications after spaying are rare ,I believe. I always thought the biggest risk the possibility of anesthetic reaction during the operation, and I've never heard of another type of post-surgery death.
I read the "fact sheet" the vet gave them, and it mentioned "some" swelling is normal.
They are hearbroken, naturally, and wonder if they could have prevented their baby from dying. This was their first female cat - the males' neuters were very straightforward.

I am going there this afternoon - I hope they have received some answers from their vet by now.
My heart goes out to them. :sad:
In January, a coyote claimed one of their male adult cats, and now this little one has met a sudden and early end too.
A routine surgery should not result in death, so the question - why did it and could anyone have prevented it?

July 10th, 2005, 03:24 PM
I'm sorry about Daisy :(

Being just over 2 weeks since Marty and Minou went for the snip-snip, my observations are:

I *think* alot of vets do Spay and Neuter as a 'conveyer belt' operation. . .they do so many of them in the day, they just keep them moving through to get the most done. . .

. . . Minou didn't experience any swelling, but I was not pleased with how 'messy' the stitches look. I realise that she is an animal with fur that will cover the scar - but I requested melting stitches, and I said that I wanted a clean, neat scar. Both which I didn't get.

They also shaved alot of fur (I was told on the forum that they do a larger area incase of complications) but they shaved the fur all the way up her sides. . . she looks funny when she walks. . .kinda like her back is arched all the time - but she isn't.

July 10th, 2005, 03:39 PM
I am sorry to hear of their loss Shamrock. My vet always sends her animals home from any spay/neuter surgery with penicllin prophelactic - the better to ensure no infection since no matter how much a kitten or puppy stays quiet, it is sometimes hard to keep them off some places and even the most innocuous infection, untreated, can turn into something worse - especially when the animal's immune system is weak postop. Do you know if this kitty was given antibiotics? (My vet- who actually holds a position in the nat assn of vets) says vets are expected to do this and failure to do so is extremely bad practice, if not malpratice.

It's the only thing I can think of to have occured - especially with the incision sounding like it was partly open (maybe increasingly opened by the kitty?) I know YY licked her incision as soon as the bandages came off and I attempted to keep them on as long as possible. I added a new one later but you know cats!! I was happy with YY's experience - and I thought it was pretty typical but my vet is not as assembly line vet at all. She can be abrupt, especially with ppl who do not look after their animals properly - but I adore her!!!

YY managed to get on a computer monitor - loking for heat I think - tho it was also where I was - and she peed into it and that was the only mishap. I should have kept her laying down in bed but she loves to lie on that monitor, heat or not. It still works amazingly, but I would not have cared if it had not. I was upset with myself for allowing her to jump - worried about hurting her incision.

I would not be pleased with that vet if I were your sister and family either!! :sad:

July 10th, 2005, 03:40 PM
I'm so sorry for your loss. It's so hard to lose a pet so early on.

To be honest, I wouldn't trust the vet. If the cat ripped the sutures out, and the vet did nothing about it right away, I'd be suspicious. If you doubt a vet ONCE, get a new vet. The story you told was very strange, and if the vet is how you portrayed him, I'd say he doesn't know much about spaying...

(I misread it at first-- I thought the vet called you for your opinion :eek: )

July 10th, 2005, 03:44 PM
Oh no thats so sad I'm so sorry to hear that.

July 10th, 2005, 10:30 PM
My first cat had complications similar, her scar was very 'open' and she did have an infection. We caught it fast enough to bring her to the vet before it got too bad. I believe she stayed at the vets for 3 nights after that.

I'm sorry for your loss, this is sudden and tragic.
I too, would recommend a new vet.

July 12th, 2005, 03:43 AM
Thank you very much for your kind condolences and sharing your experiences.

Hearing the details of little Daisy's death made me very sad, as she must have suffered, poor little thing. :(

When she was rushed back to the clinic, a different vet treated her, and she did all she could to save this kitty. She had to have more surgery-her insides were now exposed - but was already very weak and in shock. She managed to survive this, but shortly after her little heart stopped.

My sister and her bf met with the vet today to go over what happened.
She'd opened up her incisision the night before she died, pullling out two staples he had put in the day before. This is what killed her, he said.
The vet said he'd never known a cat do this before, and has never had a cat death following spay. He said that infections can become very serious very quickly with cats.

The big question - could this been avoided?
She was brought back to the clinic two days after her surgery. They were worried as she had partly removed her stitches. The vet put in staples and sent them home.
Shouldnt a "neck cone" have been implemented at that time to prevent further problems - or antibiotics given as a precaution on possible infection they asked him today?
The vet said that neck collars are never used on cats, and antibiotics were unnecessary as she appeared 'fine" at that time.

Still worried, they checked on her every hour till they went to bed.
Sometime during the night, she pulled out her staples, re-opening her incision. Though they rushed her to the vet at 8AM -it was too late.
I am shocked that an infection could claim a cat that quickly, in a matter of hours.
If that is the case.. it seems that antibiotics "should" be give as a precaution as you mention your vet does Cyber Kitten. And surely this cant be the only kitten whose tried and succeeded in removing the stitches/staples. Isnt there anything they can do about this?

This is a fairly new vet they have, and naturally they're not going back.
They adored their little girl, spayed on Tuesday, dead on Saturday:sad:
They wanted to be sure she never had any kittens. At just 16 weeks, she never got out of her own kittenhood.

July 12th, 2005, 09:33 AM
that was heartbreaking to read. ** teary eyed ** I'm very very sorry for the loss you & your sister's family have had to go through.

are early spay's typical? my vet will NOT do it early on a kitten. MUST be 6mths or older. He said he'd consider it for my male puppy, but isn't crazy about the idea.

July 12th, 2005, 12:47 PM
Time to look for a new vet.. I have had two recent eye operations on my cat and the 1st time she had a cone on her because they didn't want her to rub at her stitches or lick the pain medicine patch. I also had to give her antibiotics for 7 days. The second operation she came home without a cone but the pain medicine was oral. I still used a cone, I saw her rubbing at the stitches and put it on for a week till they were healed. She had antibiotics both times. Sorry this happened to the little girl, perhaps your sister should check around for another vet, this sounds like sloppy work, all the furbabies I have had had always tried to get to their wounds and lick or rub them.


July 12th, 2005, 01:20 PM
That is such a heartbreaking story and the even worse because with antibiotics, it may well have been prevented. (Hard to say with certainty of course but it looks that it is one possibility.) My heart goes out to your sister and her family!! I mentioned it to my vet and she expressed great surprise that a vet would send home a kitty without antibiotics. YY came home with amoxil which is extremely inexpensive - she was on it for 10 days postop. My vet said one of the main reasons she gives antibiotics is not juyst becasuse a cat's immune system is down at that time but who can predict with any certainty what any cat will do. Some are real Houdinis and can take out every stitch, staple and it is virtually impossible to watch them 24/7 (One must sleep sometime!)

July 12th, 2005, 01:49 PM
I am so sorry for your sister and her family. I would agree that its time for a new vet. Parker came home from his neuter with 10 days worth of antibiotics - both for the prevention of any infection from the neuter and also because he had a slight ear infection.

lil' iggy pop
July 12th, 2005, 02:58 PM
My cat came home with a cone after her operation. She hated it and we would take it off for a few minutes at a time just to give her a break. As soon as her head went down we'd block her so she couldn't lick. I forgot how many days she had to wear it but I thought it was a necessary and cheap way to prevent licking and ripping out her stitches.

I'm sorry about your loss. Hopefully the vet will change procedures for future operations, even if the pet "looks fine" at the time.

July 12th, 2005, 07:32 PM
They adored their little girl, spayed on Tuesday, dead on Saturday:sad:
They wanted to be sure she never had any kittens. At just 16 weeks, she never got out of her own kittenhood.
This is so sad. Responsible owners trying to do everything to protect their beloved kitten and then to have this happen. My vet also won't spay before 6mos and sends home with antibiotics. They must be tearing themselves up over this. My heart goes out to them!

July 12th, 2005, 08:04 PM
So so sad. How could it have been prevented? I don't know of any kittens so young who are so bothered by their stitches. I think there must have been something wrong in the way they were put in or something with the incision. Kitties never notice-- especially the night after the surgery. They have enough on their minds without thinking about the stitches. I mean with the displacement, the shock of being handled, and waking up on drugs, the kitty shouldn't notice where the pain is coming from, unless something is wrong. Maybe the incision was just way too big for a tiny kitty?

I know it's not fun to talk about it, but I, too, would like to know what happened. Vets certainly are not regulated as strictly as they should be in Canada.

:sorry: :grouphug:

July 12th, 2005, 08:21 PM
Gosh, I'm so terribly sorry to hear this. I fostered a cat who removed some of her staples two days after surgery but I was just given Topagen spray to help seal the tiny gap. They felt it would just fuse on it's own and it did. By the time I took her back to have the staples removed, she only had one of the eight left. Perhaps contacting the local veterinary association about the kitten and reporting the incidence may help to clarify this sad outcome?

July 13th, 2005, 07:29 PM
Thank you very much for offering your personal experiences here, that offers a good prospective on other cat spay procedures and recovery.
When this vet said that cones are "never" used for cats, and that antibiotics are "never" given as a precaution... he was clearly speaking for himself, and his clinic.
Its all speculation at this point, but my own feeling is that if she'd been given antibiotics and/or a cone when she was brought back for a recheck, this kitten would be alive today.

Strangely, when they arrived back with the kitten, now in critical condition, the first thing the receptionist asked them is "Where's her e-collar"? (cone) When they said she wasnt given one she replied... "Its standard procedure"
Asked about these comments at their meeting, the vet insisted she was mistaken.:confused: That is somewhat unsettling. Which is it?

BMDluver... thanks for that good suggestion - filing a report with the BCVMA. I mentioned this to my sister today, and they are considering it.
I believe they will proceed, because though they they listened to the vet explain,they dont feel satisfied that this couldnt have been prevented.

I think they would feel better if someone impartial could come to a conclusion. If there weres no oversights, and it was just a tragic unavoidable outcome, they'll have more peace of mind.

But if any procedures do need revising at this animal hospital, then possibly another family might be prevented this heartache. :sad:

It may be extremely rare, but it happened to them.

July 13th, 2005, 08:27 PM
I do think that case needs to be examined somewhere - I wonder if that clinic has M&M meetings Morbidity and Mortality meetings hospitals hold to review any death that has occured to ensure all the proper procedures have been followed and if not, why and what could be done differently, what can be learned from the experience - that kind of thing. I am not aware of what the veternary associations do but I agree that some contact with the proper associations and authorities are in order. If the vet owns the clinic, that may be a problem but certainly, the veternary society should be made aware od his practice and that he seems to have disregarded what seems to be typical protocol for this procedure.

YY did not have an e collar - she was also older - my vet does not yet do s/n at young ages. But to respond to Prin's comments, most kitties are VERY curious about anything and it is not all that simple to keep them quiet, even after as "simple" a procedure (clearly it was not simple for this poor kitty and her family!). A 16 week old kitten would be picking at that incision within hours of the procdure.

And the comment by the clinic's receptionist is curious.

The thing that really upsets me - besides the death of the kitten - is the fact it was so preventable. I honestly think too that even ONE of those preventive actions (an e collar or antibiotics, neither of them expensive!) would have gone a long way to ensuring that this needless death not occured.

But if they feel up to it and if they think it will help them in their grief (and maybe help other families and kitties!!!!), they should bring the case to the attention of the BCVMA.

Please extend my heartfelt sympathy to your sister and her family for me!!! :sorry:

July 14th, 2005, 09:29 AM
although my vet does not like to s/n under 6mths, he also does not use any collars or antibiotics (for a kitten s/n). All of the cats i've had s/n'd there (5 total) have never been sent home w/ a cone or meds. in fact, the last one I had done, we were told to keep her calm/quiet as much as possible, and the stitches had to stay in for 21 days. (double stitched, dissolvable inside and regular stitches outside)

July 14th, 2005, 10:34 AM
I am soooo very sorry to hear about Daisy.

When I adopted Winnie at 8 weeks(now 18 months) she was spayed before we could take her home.Her insision was "very" small.And they used dissolving stitches.We were not sent home with any medication,or told to use an E collar.A week later we took her to our vet to get checked.The stitches were all gone.She never had any swelling either.When we adopted Casper at 8 weeks(now 22 months)he too was done at 8 weeks(neuter that is...LOL)they used a "glue".Once again,no swelling,no medication,no E collar.They are both happy and healthy and driving me bonkers at times...LOL

See at my SPCA,they do pediatric s/n.No animal is allowed out of there without being fixed.And I truely love that idea.And once again it is kitten season there. :( ..The vet they use is amazing.And he truely knows what he is doing.He has not lost an animal to an early spay.He takes his time.And will not bite off more than he can chew.What I mean by that is ho does not do one s/n after another in a day. :)

Shamrock,something just isn't sitting right with me.I can't see how Daisy got so ill after the spay.

I have to agree that this was a sloppy job.This should not have happened.

Once again,I'm so sorry. :sad: