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Anesethia complications

Customer Question

I took my 9 month old cat in to get spade last Wednesday (5/19). The vet said that she had a "severe reaction" to the anesethia and wasn’t able to wake up for several days. She is gradually improving and can now sit up, but she is blind and seems to be cognitively slow. I’d like to know if this is common and what to expect. Is it possible for her vision to recover?
Submitted: 12 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  DanaDVM replied 12 years ago.
I am terribly sorry to hear this has happened to you and your cat. These things are uncommon but unfortunately occur at everyone's clinic at one time or another. It would be helpful to know the exact anesthetic agent the cat received but a general response is the following.
Medications cause the body to react in different ways and anesthetics obviously effect each animal slightly different. Not only do the animals need to handle the drugs while under but they have to filter them out of the blood to recover.
In your animals case there is a possiblity that the heart or respirations dropped after the medication was given. This is a reaction to the drugs that is a hypersensitivity so the body reacts aggressively to the drug. With a decrease in blood flow the animal can have decrease blood to the brain and other organs...hypoxia. Then the kidneys and liver have to filter it out and this can also affect them as well so that the recovery is extremely slow and tedious on the body.
With your cat most likely hypoxia to the brain, as noticed with a probable stupor and blindness. Recovery is guarded, but neurological recovery can take 3-4 weeks. With animals, unlike humans, a "retardation" is less evident since they are not as highly developed.
Most of these cats die acutely at the time of anesthesia so I am hoping that your cat does make a recovery that is compatible with a happy life with you. You and your family are in my prayers. Please respond if you have further questions.
Dr.V

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