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Cat surgery: IV fluids, local anesthesia, and heat support
elizabeth_2 posted:
My cat is going to have his teeth cleaned and a lump removed from his head. I noticed that IV fluids were not in the estimate. When I did some research on surgery protocol for cats, some feline specialists recommend that all cats receive IV fluids during surgery, saying that it is important to maintain blood pressure and blood flow through the kidneys. One practice stated that 2% of cats who have surgery without fluids will develop kidney disease. Is this correct? Are there any risks associated with IV fluids? For example, could they exacerbate hypothermia if active heat support is not provided?

Regarding local anesthesia, I'm sure they will use a local anesthetic spray in his throat, but the estimate did not include an injection in his head, where the lump is. Should I ask for this, or are local anesthetics too risky to use in cats? How often are toxic reactions, like methemoglobinemia, seen in cats? Should I ask my vet to keep methylene blue on hand in case of a reaction? I had a family member develop methemoglobinemia in response to a benzocaine spray that was used in his throat, so it's something I'm concerned about with my cat, although it probably rarely happens.
Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP responded:
Fluids are often given during anesthesia especially in older cats, cats with preexisting conditions that can cause dehydration (such as kidney disease, diabetes, etc.) and cats that are medically unstable. But not every cat requires fluids during anesthesia, and it does increase the cost of the procedure. You should discuss this with your veterinarian.

Local anesthetics must be used to place a tube in their trachea, but side effects of some of these are well known in cats, so are avoided. Local anesthetics injected around a tumor are not necessary if general anesthesia is used. Good for you for doing your homework!

Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP
The Cat Doctor
Board Certified in Feline Practice


William Draper, DVM, better known as "Dr. Will," is a well-known small animal practitioner in the Atlanta, GA area. He grew up in Inglewood,...More

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