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CalCatDoc
CalCatDoc, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 341
Experience:  I have 31 years of clinical experience, with the past 22 years being in a feline-exclusive practice.
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My cat, who was spayed 3 days ago without complications,

Customer Question

My cat, who was spayed 3 days ago without complications, went outside today for a few hours and came back with a swollen neck and chin, even extending back to her shoulder blades. She's now hiding out, but doesn't seem to be in pain. What could cause this?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
When I scratch her chin or rub her neck, the fluid makes a crinkly noise similar to a cellophane rapper.
Expert:  CalCatDoc replied 10 months ago.
Hi! I'mCustomerand I can help with your question.Even before I saw your comment about the crinkly sound, I had a very good idea what this was because I saw a case just like this many years ago. A middle-aged cat went to another vet clinic for routine dental work and a few days later presented to me with acute swelling of the neck and adjacent area.The sound you hear is likely from air from the respiratory tract getting into the tissue between the skin and underlying muscles. This happens after a cat has been anesthetized with gas rather than injectable drugs. Inflation of the cuff on the tube to form a tight seal can cause pressure necrosis of the trachea (airway). A few days later that little dead spot deteriorates enough to allow it to leak from the airway directly under the skin.In the case I saw, I simply put the cat on antibiotics a few days and we crossed our fingers that the hole would seal up on its own. It did, and the cat went on to live a normal, healthy life.But there is also the possibility that, if that hole is too big, it might not want to heal on its own and then surgery might be needed. So you need to see a vet right away to start dealing with this rather than waiting. Your vet or the local emergency vet might need to remove some of the air with a needle and syringe. They might also want to bandage the affected area (NOT tightly since the neck is kind of important). Followup is important to make sure that the problem is resolving to the vet's satisfaction.A vet visit is also necessary to rule out a primary infection of some sort, but I really do think you are dealing with subcutaneous emphysema from a tiny hole in the trachea. Good luck and please let me know if you need clarification or have further questions.
Expert:  CalCatDoc replied 10 months ago.
Hi,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

CalCatDoc