In general, complications are rare during an ovariohysterectomy surgery. However, as with any anesthetic or surgical procedure, there is always a small risk. The potential complications include:
Any individual cat can have an unexpected adverse reaction following the administration of any drug or anesthetic. Such cases are impossible to predict, but are extremely rare.
Another potential danger associated with anesthesia arises if the cat is not properly fasted before anesthesia. Anesthetized patients lose normal reflex ability to swallow; during swallowing, the epiglottis, a cartilage flap at the entrance to the windpipe, closes and prevents food or water from entering the lungs. If there is food in the stomach, the cat could vomit while under anesthesia or in the early post-anesthetic period, allowing the food to enter the lungs and cause aspiration pneumonia, a potentially life-threatening condition.
Illness will increase the risks associated with anesthesia. Pre-operative blood work is a useful screening test that may detect pre-existing problems that could interfere with the pet’s ability to handle anesthetic drugs.
To minimize the risks, it is important that all pre-operative instructions are strictly followed and that you report any signs of illness or previous medical conditions to your veterinarian before any sedation, anesthesia or surgery.
This can occur if a ligature around a blood vessel breaks or slips off after the abdomen has been closed. This is very rare, and is more likely to occur if the cat is extremely active. Clinical signs include weakness, pale gums, depression, anorexia or a distended abdomen.
This may occur internally or externally around the incision site. In most cases, the infection can be controlled with antibiotics. A post-operative infection most commonly occurs when the cat licks the site excessively or is in a damp environment.
Suture Reaction or Sinus Formation
Although extremely rare, occasionally the body will react to certain types of suture material used during surgery. This results in a draining wound or tract that may appear up to several weeks after the surgery was performed. Often a further operation is required to remove the suture material.