Surgical Wound Closure in Cats Following Spaying

Written by alaina m. coyle
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Surgical Wound Closure in Cats Following Spaying
Spay your cat to keep her healthy (kitten image by Zhenya from Fotolia.com)

As a responsible cat owner, spaying is a necessary step to keep your pet healthy. Neglecting to spay your cat increases her chances of suffering from mammary tumours, uterine infections, and reproductive cancers. Although spaying is a routine surgery, there are risks involved. Learning what to consider before spaying your cat, what to look for after the surgery, and how to care for the surgical wound reduces these risks.

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Precautions

If your cat is overweight, pregnant, or in heat, the danger of complications during spaying increases. When an animal is in heat or carrying a litter, the blood supply to the uterus increases, which raises the risk of her losing too much blood during surgery. Your vet should determine that your cat does not have allergic or infected skin and that she is healthy enough for surgery.

Procedure

When your cat is spayed, her ovaries and uterus are surgically removed through an incision in the abdomen. Following the surgery, your veterinarian may use either skin stitches or buried sutures underneath the skin to close the wound. Buried sutures stops your cat from pulling out her stitches.

Wound Care

Carefully monitor the surgical wound to make certain it remains clean and healthy-looking. It will take 10 to 14 days for the wound to heal completely. During this time period, do not bathe your cat or allow her to get wet. Do not let her lick the surgical site, as bacteria can enter the wound and cause infection.

If the surgical wound becomes dirty, clean it with warm salty water. Dry the area thoroughly and check the wound daily. If your cat's wound become soiled with dirt or faeces there is a greater chance she can develop an infection. Keep your cat indoors to ensure she stays clean during recovery.

Warning Signs

If your cat's spaying wound becomes swollen, red or leaks fluid call your veterinarian. A green or yellow discharge indicates infection and should be checked out right away. Other warning signs include bleeding, a swollen belly or skin that is hot to the touch.

Complications

Wound breakdown is the most common of all surgery complications, which means your cat's sutures have come apart, resulting in an open hole in the abdomen that may require additional surgery. Other complications are rare, but may include seromas -- a bulge of fluid formed as a result of a gap in the fatty layer between the cat's skin and abdominal wall muscles, or abscesses -- bacteria-filled lumps that can potentially burst through the suture line. If left untreated, these conditions can lead to septic peritonitis, a deadly build-up of infection and inflammation around the cat's internal organs.

With proper wound care, your cat should completely recover from her spay surgery.

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