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Spaying the Older Cat

November 20th, 2009, 11:53 PM
Hey all :) I have a neighbor whom I've finally convinced that she should have her 6 y/o female cat spayed. The cat, Tiny, has never had kittens (the cat is afraid of her own shadow, never mind other cats), thankfully. She has been to the vet in her first year to get her vaccs done, but her owner (elderly woman) didn't have her spayed at that time (money issues). Anyways, we've worked out a deal with the low cost S/N clinic and she can have her cat spayed as soon as she is out of heat. Now the woman lives in a seniors building, top floor and the cat has never been outside. She has never had kittens (woman has had her since 6 weeks old). She is concerned that Tiny may have complications with getting spayed at 6 years old. Is there anything I can tell her to alleviate her fear? She wants to get her done, as I've been pestering her for the past year to do it, and now she can afford it (vet is giving her a huge discount so that she can be done, tattooed, etc). Thanks in advanced!

November 21st, 2009, 02:30 AM
As long as the cat is in good health there shouldn't be any problems but if she were my cat I would want blood work done first to ensure that. Older cats undergoing any surgery usually require more testing to assess the risk of anesthesia.

November 21st, 2009, 07:53 AM
6 years old isn't really too old. I can say that I frequently see older cats coming through the spay/neuter clinic at our shelter. I would say the average age of cats that come to the clinic is 3-5 years old. If the cat is in good health I would say there is not really much more of an increase of a risk then any other cat.

To be perfectly honest, the only cats I've ever seen who have had serious complications or passed away from s/n have been either previously unkown FIV/FeLV positive cats or feral cats (unknown backgrounds who knows what they've been exposed too), or cats that owners haven't taken that good care of.

In my experience I've never seen cat's just die from getting fixed. Sorry I can't word that any better. It all does depend on the anesthesia, the vet and their practices but in general the procedure is quick and simple and rarely do cats have major problems with it.

November 21st, 2009, 12:16 PM
Thank you both very much :) I will let her know and will set up an appointment for the begining of December :D

November 21st, 2009, 12:32 PM
Definitely get the pre-surgery blood work done, but also ask the vet about their post-op analgesia protocol. Spaying is a painful procedure, even more-so in an older cat. Too often vets get chintzy with the pain meds, especially when discounting their services. A Fentanyl pain patch might be a good choice in this situation because then the kitty's owner doesn't have to administer oral meds. Whatever the case, Metacam should not be used.

November 21st, 2009, 12:35 PM
Thanks SCM! I will make sure to get the blood work done first (I'm handling all the appointments for her, as she is very forgetful), and ask about pain management ;)

November 21st, 2009, 02:37 PM
Be prepared for the cost to go up with the add-ons of the bloodwork and pain meds. We use the low-cost clinics for our spay/neuters because it's such a routine surgery and we just can't beat the price. (our vet charges $350 for our dogs and $300 for the cats... at the clinic the cats were $25 w/shots and the dogs were $75)

When we added pain meds for our dog, the price jumped to over $100. I imagine she's on a fixed income, so an added cost might deter her.

I know this is going to come across as evil, but if given a choice of one or the other, I would go with the bloodwork. It takes an extra trip to the vet to get it done before the surgery, but ensures everything is running properly and the kitty can metabolize the anesthesia.

It does sound mean to withhold pain meds because of the cost, but in the long run getting spayed is soooo important. I've had 3 c-sections and didn't take the pain meds after the last one... not even in the hospital. The pain is manageable. It sucks, but isn't going to make her be unable to function afterwards. The one thing I did notice was that I was up and about a lot faster and healed better because I wasn't overdoing it because I wasn't in any pain. Made me take it easy.

Sorry to suggest no pain meds. Just wanted to put my two cents in on the more important cost of getting the bloodwork done.

November 21st, 2009, 08:23 PM
I know this is going to come across as evil, but if given a choice of one or the other, I would go with the bloodwork.

Gotta disagree. I think if she can't afford both, maybe the cat shouldn't be spayed right now. Read my previous post on the subject:

November 21st, 2009, 09:20 PM
I don't use pain meds in my s/n's . Not even in my personal cats. I've only had pain meds for Socks because she had gotten... what's it called... the infected/swollen belly thing because she had kittens before she was spayed and never fully recovered and so yeah she had pain meds because her belly had already been totally messed up.

The vet I work with most and who is also Timmy's vet does not use pain meds except in cases where the animal has a previous medical history that shows a. it's okay for that animal to get pain meds and b. the situation calls for it - tumor removals, dentals, etc.

It's really a difficult subject to deal with. If you can get pain meds, then hey go ahead and go for it. Animals deal with pain differently and especially cats it can be hard to tell.

Seeing as I work in a low cost clinic, pain meds really don't fit into the budget anyways. Some vets use Metacam, but personally I think Metacam not only sucks but can be dangerous. I've seen bupenorphine used in cats.

All in all, from my PERSONAL experience, I feel pain meds are a waste of money and potentially dangerous if not treated with care. It 100% depends on the situation and the vets discretion. I can say for a fact that I see no difference in animals that have had pain meds after a spay/neuter and animals that haven't. :shrug: They all look just as upset when they awake to find something amiss :o

It's a touchy subject. This is something that needs to be discussed with the medical staff in the clinic where the surgery is being done. If you get the bloodwork done first and it shows liver functions are normal then usually pain meds don't cause any issues aside from digestive upsets.

November 22nd, 2009, 01:23 PM
Thank you :) The vets are actually doing a low payment plan for her (about $25 a month for 6 months, blood work is pro bono this time round), that is to cover the spay, tattoo, and blood work prior to the spay. Pain meds will be discussed before the spay. Thankfully I know these vets and they are very willing to help this woman out (she's in her 80s, and Tiny is her only companion). I will let you all know what the blood work says ;) Thanks!

November 22nd, 2009, 01:33 PM
Glad to know there are good vets out there that care about the animals. :)

November 22nd, 2009, 01:44 PM
Animals deal with pain differently and especially cats it can be hard to tell.

Just because you can't tell that a cat is in pain, doesn't mean it isn't. Why not err on the side of compassion and make sure the cat is as comfortable as possible following what is KNOWN to be a painful procedure. Please read the link I posted, you might change your tune.

November 22nd, 2009, 02:55 PM
Glad to know there are good vets out there that care about the animals. :)

I agree ....that is one awesome vet you have there. :thumbs up

November 22nd, 2009, 02:57 PM
Thank you, he's a great guy who is doing me a huge favor :o I'm just glad I can call in favors now and then, lol!