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What went wrong with my Cat?

bubba46
March 12th, 2010, 09:09 AM
I will try to make this as brief as possible. About 2 months ago, a stray cat appeared at more door. I set up housing on the front porch, and gave her food and water. She appeared to be a lost cat, and my attempts at finding her owner were in vain. So, I decided to continue to feed her. A few weeks ago, she showed up with two kittens in tow. The kittens are very feral. I decided to get momma cat spayed before she could have more kittens. I took her in this past Tuesday. They told me surgery went well and for me to keep her inside for 24 hours. After she had been home for about an hour, I went to check on her (I had her confined in a bathroom since I have dogs as well), and one of her eyes didn't look right. She has yellow eyes, but the left eye had turned a silver/gray color - almost as if she had developed a cataract in an hour's time, which I know is not possible. Her pupil in that eye has totally disappeared. I called the vet, and they told me to bring her into the office the next morning. Well, I went to check on her again in another hour or so, and her incision was open, and her "insides" were hanging outside. We took her to the emergency room. They said she chewed her stitches out, but I disagree. She was still so heavily sedated from being spayed earlier in the day, that I do not believe she did that much damage to herself in that short of time. I feel that she wasn't sewn back up properly. At present, she is still in the hospital, and I hope to bring her home today. They said she's still not out of the woods, as there is still a chance for infection. But, my question is, does anyone have any clue what happened to her eye? The emergency vet, and the 3 vets at the clinic have no idea, although they do agree she is now blind in that eye. I've researched the internet, but can't find anything. I think it must be somehow related to the anesthesia. Obviously, the damage is done and there is nothing that can be done to bring back her sight. But still, I would love to know what happened. Any ideas?

Love4himies
March 12th, 2010, 09:35 AM
OMG, :grouphug: for getting her spayed. :thumbs up

Very strange indeed. I certainly would not be bringing any of my pets to the vet who did the spaying :(

quincymycat
March 12th, 2010, 10:10 AM
That is very weird.. I have never heard of that kind of reaction before. Did the vet think that it may possibly be neurological in nature - ie a small stroke brought on by an anesthesia reaction, or a seizure disorder of some kind? Either one might possibly explain why she went for her stitches if her mind was compromised at the time. :shrug:
Thank you so much for what you have done her. Not everyone would :thankyou:
Best thoughts for your new ward....keep us posted on how things progress or any ideas/explanations they may be able to give you.:grouphug:

bubba46
March 12th, 2010, 10:20 AM
They really didn't offer any explanation. The emergency room doctor was more concerned with the fact that here intestines and spleen were hanging out, and rightfully so. The doctors at the clinic just said, "we don't know, we'll do some research." Since she's been hospitalized ever since, I haven't had a chance to see how she's acting - whether there might be some neurological damage or not. I wasn't able to see her yesterday due to work, but when I called, they said she was doing fine. I realize that sometimes, things go wrong during surgery, and nobody can predict the outcome. I also know that it's quite easy to blame these turn of events on the cat, since I didn't see for myself what actually happened. I have had many dogs spayed/neutered, and they are normally quite sleepy afterwards, but she acted as if she was drunk - she couldn't stand without falling over. Eventually, she just went to sleep. It was a little bit later when I found her with her insides hanging out, but even then, she couldn't stand, walk, and acted as if she was totally drunk. Due to financial issues, I took her to a spay/neuter clinic instead of my regular vet - I will never take another animal there again, that's for sure! Thank you all for your concern - I will continue to check this forum frequently in the hopes that maybe somebody knows what might have happened. I'm going to ask them about the possibility that she may have had a seizure - never thought of that before you mentioned it....

quincymycat
March 12th, 2010, 10:37 AM
You know, her behaviour...the looking and behaving like she was "drunk" and her inability to stand IMO sounds neurological. I too have had many pets spayed/neutered and the after effects of anesthesia are there, the animal tends to be slower in motor activity, but what you are describing seems....excessive?
Have you outlined this to her treating vet? It may be imprtant to her treatment.
A don't think all spay and neuter clinics can be dismissed as bad or not giving good treatment. Most are a valuable assest for many people who cannot afford the regular process of private clinics and are staffed by very caring people. Your case may be different, but I can't say if it is or not, but your kitty is definately in need of good care now. Thank you again for all you are doing for her.

Tundra_Queen
March 12th, 2010, 12:10 PM
i'm so sorry to hear about your kitty,,the poor thing. I hope she will be ok. About her being "drunk" maybe the dosage of the anestetic was wrong? I so hope she will be ok. :grouphug:

binkybuff
March 12th, 2010, 12:15 PM
I worked with a Vet many years ago, and we did have the odd occassion that an animal did chew it's stitches, until they opened. Heavily sedated or not, it is the instict of the animal, that is an injured spot, so they will try to lick, and finding knots from the stitches, will chew at those until they are gone.

Another thing could be for the eye, is that even sedated, she could have banged her head on something causing the eye trama. Had this happen to a cat of mine, and she went blind in one eye. She eventually became totally blind due to kidney failure, however, managed quite well in the house. Just don't place obstacles in front of her. They do respond well to their owners voice.

When coming out of sedation, an animal tends to throw itself about a bit, so they do need a quiet spot with supervision, and something soft underneath them.

take care
binky

14+kitties
March 12th, 2010, 02:16 PM
I am so sorry you are going through this with your kitty. Thank you for spaying her. Did you manage to get the kittens too? :fingerscr
I hope you find some answers to what happened with her. It sounds like it may have been a reaction to the antibiotics but seeing as we aren't vets.. :shrug: Maybe see if our Dr Lee can help. I will PM him for you.
Please make sure when you get the kitty back that she becomes an indoor only kitty. Being outdoors is dangerous for cats at the best of times. Being blind in one eye will make it 100 times worse.

MyBirdIsEvil
March 12th, 2010, 02:48 PM
It sounds like she was possibly over-anesthetized. That's not 100% for sure though because some animals do have a negative reaction to a normal amount of anesthesia or it may effect them much more than another animal of the same size.

As far as the stitches, it is possible that she wasn't closed up properly. Do you know anything about the staff of this spay neuter clinic? Is there an actual vet on hand? I suppose it's possible, but it's odd that she'd chew them open in a short amount of time while you were checking on her and she was so out of it.

Regarding the eye...do you know what the eye looked like when you first picked her up? If her eyes were closed maybe it was like that right off the bat and you just didn't notice. What you describe sounds like some kind of trauma to the eye or head. This could have happened AT the clinic which would bother me greatly.
The clinic should have noticed she wasn't acting right. The worrisome thing is that they might have regarded her behavior after surgery as normal because they're over-anesthetizing a lot of the animals and don't realize it.

aslan
March 12th, 2010, 02:51 PM
not so odd MBIE,,,i had a dog years ago that i eventually had to muzzle,,went through 7 sets of stitches in no time..in the time it took me to turn my head and answer someone and turn back poof no more stitches. Even managed to get a set out with a cone on..which i'm going to highly suggest the OP use when kitty does come home.

MyBirdIsEvil
March 12th, 2010, 02:54 PM
not so odd MBIE,,,i had a dog years ago that i eventually had to muzzle,,went through 7 sets of stitches in no time..in the time it took me to turn my head and answer someone and turn back poof no more stitches. Even managed to get a set out with a cone on..which i'm going to highly suggest the OP use when kitty does come home.

True.

I've just had several cats neutered or spayed and I've never seen them rip their stitches open. Lick but not open them. And with the eye issue I'd definitely be questioning the clinic either way, because something seems to have gone wrong.

Dr Lee
March 12th, 2010, 04:01 PM
She has yellow eyes, but the left eye had turned a silver/gray color - almost as if she had developed a cataract in an hour's time, which I know is not possible. Her pupil in that eye has totally disappeared. But, my question is, does anyone have any clue what happened to her eye?The emergency vet, and the 3 vets at the clinic have no idea, although they do agree she is now blind in that eye.

Well, I went to check on her again in another hour or so, and her incision was open, and her "insides" were hanging outside. We took her to the emergency room. They said she chewed her stitches out, but I disagree. She was still so heavily sedated from being spayed earlier in the day, that I do not believe she did that much damage to herself in that short of time. I feel that she wasn't sewn back up properly.

This first question can be difficult ot answer without seeing the eye. If you cannot see the pupil and you are describing a grey color, then I would be thinking that the cornea has changed color versus the lens which would imply severe corneal edema (swelling) versus a cataract. Severe corneal edema can be from viral infections (which can be without symptoms prior to spay and then "triggered" by the surgical stress. I have seen this with rescue cats. I had a cat that was in a rescue home for a month with no symptoms. She took the cat to a shelter and had her spayed. Within 16 hours, the eye was blue/grey, irritated and unable to see out of it. The cat was taken to a veterinary ophthalmologist who diagnosed ocular FIP.). Bacterial infection, trauma or topical reactions can also lead to such changes. I would recommend a veterinary ophthalmologist once the pet is stabalized. If that is not possible, perhaps you could post a few pictures???


The opening of the surgical site postoperatively is called dehiscence. Obviously, when this occurs and intestines are exposed in an unsterile, surgical environment, it is a serious situation with possible life threatening sequellae. With that said, many can recover. Wound care, sterilization/flushing and surgical repair followed by supportive care and antibiotics can save many patient's lives from a dehiscence situation. The prognosis depends upon how quickly it is recognized and treated, if peritonitis and sepsis has already set in and whether there was vascular compromise/severe hemorrhage/organ damage.

Was causes dehiscence? The possibilities are: patient chewing out sutures, patient being too active post operatively, surgeon error (either improper technique or improper suture choice), and patient immune system and health (if there is an underlying viral/bacterial/cancer/immune disease present, then even with proper technique and sutures, the site can literally "fall apart.")

Did the surgeon make a mistake? It happens although not that frequently. Even sedated animals will go after the site because of the inflammation. Unfortunately you really need to have an unbiased veterinarian evaluate the site to make that call. I wish I could give you that answer but without seeing the dehiscence site and the surgical record, it is difficult to say.

At this point the most important goal is to get her better! Please keep us informed on how she is doing. :pawprint:

14+kitties
March 12th, 2010, 04:18 PM
Thanks for your prompt reply Dr Lee. As helpful as always!! :thumbs up
Now let's hope kitty recovers. :fingerscr

bubba46
March 12th, 2010, 11:21 PM
Thank you for all the replies and well wishes. Biscuit is home this evening. She has a e-collar on, and I was told to keep her calm and confined for 10 days. She is also on antibiotics. She seems to be as friendly as ever, so hopefully, there isn't any permanent damage other than the eye issue. I know she is still not out of the woods, but hopefully, she'll pull through without any other complications.

Someone asked about her eyes after surgery. That was one thing I noticed - her pupils were huge. I said something to the surgery assistant, and she told me enlarged pupils were common. So, I know for a fact her eyes looked fine (other than the large pupils) when I picked her up - it was only about an hour later when the eye had changed. As soon as she's feeling better, I will post a picture - hopefully I can take a clear enough picture so you can see what I'm talking about. There is a "black spot" in the eye which might be the pupil, but it sure is tiny. When she looks at you straight on, she almost appears to be cross-eyed. We let her out of the cage for about an hour, and she roamed around the house without any problems.

I have taken my animals for years to the same vet's office. There are 3 vets in this office, and the vet that did her surgery has never treated my animals before. He is new to the office, and runs a spay/neuter clinic once a month at another location. I had her spayed at the clinic, due to the savings over having her done at the private office. I spoke with him today when I went to pick up the cat, and again, he offered no answers as to what happened to her eye - he took a picture, and said he would post it on a forum where other vet's chat, and perhaps someone has seen this occur before.

Dr. Lee, if she does indeed have FIP, is this a treatable condition, or will she be forever blind in that eye?

Yes, when I found her, her intestines and spleen were dragging the floor - a bathroom floor, which I'm sure has bacteria and other germs regardless of how clean it appears. She was immediately taken to the ER, he rinsed the abdomen with sterile solution, and temporarily patched her up until I could get her to my regular vet the next day. I didn't have the ER doctor perform the surgery, as he wanted nearly $2,000. My regular vet, or should I say the vet that performed the spay, performed the 2nd surgery free of charge, as he should.

I was also told when I picked up my cat today, that she was pregnant when they did the spay. Nobody told me that before now. The ER doctor asked if she was pregnant, and I told him no - so he was questioning why the incision was so large. Now that I know she was indeed pregnant, that explains the size of the incision. The vet said he didn't even know she was pregnant until he started surgery.

Fortunately, she ate a decent plate of food, and drank some water, and is now resting peacefully in her kennel. At the moment, she seems like she's on the mend, but I know I won't be able to rest easy until the 10 days have passed, and she's completed all her antibiotics.

I will keep ya'll informed of her condition, and thank you all VERY much for taking the time to correspond with me!!!

Oh, and the kittens - I haven't seen them since Tuesday night. They are about 8 weeks old, and I've left food, water and shelter on the front porch, but I fear that without momma around, they may have gone searching for her and can't find their way back home. I've already talked to the city, and if they do reappear, they will trap, neuter and release. I'm gonna let somebody else handle it this time - I can't deal with anymore drama right now!!

Thanks again to everyone!!!

14+kitties
March 12th, 2010, 11:31 PM
I was also told when I picked up my cat today, that she was pregnant when they did the spay. Nobody told me that before now. The ER doctor asked if she was pregnant, and I told him no - so he was questioning why the incision was so large. Now that I know she was indeed pregnant, that explains the size of the incision. The vet said he didn't even know she was pregnant until he started surgery.

Not necessarily. I have had a few pregnant cats spayed. One was fairly far along. The incisions are always the same size. Pretty uniform. If he didn't know she was pregnant when he started the surgery then she wasn't far along. That means the kittens would have been very tiny. No need for a larger incision.

Oh, and the kittens - I haven't seen them since Tuesday night. They are about 8 weeks old, and I've left food, water and shelter on the front porch, but I fear that without momma around, they may have gone searching for her and can't find their way back home. I've already talked to the city, and if they do reappear, they will trap, neuter and release. I'm gonna let somebody else handle it this time - I can't deal with anymore drama right now!!

Thanks again to everyone!!!

I bet the kittens haven't gone far. Is it normal for your city to do t/n/rs? Do they release back to the same area the cats are found in? Sorry for all the questions.

Love4himies
March 13th, 2010, 10:10 AM
I am so glad to hear she is doing well :thumbs up :grouphug:.


Can you leave some of her "used" litter outside and perhaps a blanket/towel that you have rubbed over her outside to attract her kittens. I have found with a couple of my foster litters, if they were brought up with momma's prey, they wouldn't touch cat food, but would raw meat, chicken being their favourite.

Good luck :goodvibes::goodvibes::goodvibes:

bubba46
April 19th, 2010, 11:03 PM
I want to start by apologizing to everyone for not responding sooner. My PC died on me, so I've been without internet for quite some time. Plus, I was finally able to obtain a decent photo of my cat's eye to post, as requested. I've made numerous attempts, but she would look away every time the flash went off! To update - the cat is doing well (yeah!!), but I still do not have an answer as to what caused her eye damage. Was it the anesthesia or something else? None of the vets can answer that question, and I do not have the funds to take her to a specialist. Besides, the damage is done and can't be reversed. I'm just extremely curious as to what happened - how did she end up blind in one eye after being spayed? Hopefully, you can tell from the picture that her left eye is a bit more sunk in than her right, and it has a "mirror" type effect going on in the iris/cornea/retina (not sure what it's called). Her eyes were totally normal before surgery. Any ideas?

hazelrunpack
April 19th, 2010, 11:11 PM
I just PM'd Dr Lee with a link to the update, bubba46. I'm glad she's doing so well otherwise, but so sorry about her eye. :grouphug:

Dr Lee
April 20th, 2010, 12:16 PM
Thanks hazelpackrun

From the pictures it appears that the changes are behind the colored portion of the eye (iris). The clear portion of the eye (cornea) also appears unaffected. The anatomy that lies directly behind the iris (colored portion) is the lens. Thus any white opacities that form there would be consistent with a cataract. While we have talked about surgery being a physiologic stress, there is no other direct connection with anesthesia/spaying/ear tipping/etc. and formation of a cataract. If "something" touched or got onto the eye (alcohol/etc.) then the inflammation would affect the cornea (outer clear portion of the eye) or conjunctiva (pink tissue on outside) but not the lens.

Further evaluation of why a pet had an acute onset of a unilateral cataract should be performed by a veterinary ophthalmologist. The FIP case that I was previously talking about had cornea (outer clear part) and conjunctiva (pink area next to eye) changes - not that of the lens.

I hope that helps.

bubba46
April 20th, 2010, 02:01 PM
Thank you for the response, Dr. Lee. So, if I read your response correctly, it appears to you to be a cataract? The vets at the clinic I go to all agreed that a cataract could not just appear in a few hours time. One vet even mentioned it was possibly a detached retina. At any rate, they all said there was nothing that could be done to correct it, which is the main reason I haven't bothered seeking out a specialist - that, and the cost! :-) The cat doesn't act as if it bothers her, and she acts as though her vision is unaffected. It also looks as if her left eye is sunk back into her head further than the right eye. Another strange thing - in the daytime, her "bad" eye looks very much like the other eye. You really have to look hard to see any difference. The only time you can really see the problem with her eye is at night.