Wednesday 22 June 2022

Why do up to 10x more cats die under or after a general anesthetic than humans?

Feline anaesthetic deaths in veterinary practice are at approximately 0.11% (1 in 895 anaesthetics) of healthy cats. A study reports that this is more than twice as frequent as has been recently reported in dogs. And for humans it is 1-4 deaths per 10,000 anaesthesias.

Let's just recap that. One death per 10,000 is 0.01% which is about 10 times less than for cats. 4 deaths per 10,000 is going to be half the rate of cats or even better.

There is no way to avoid the conclusion that between double to 10 times the number of cats die under general anaesthetic compared to humans. We need to know why, don't we?

So far, I have not found an answer. Can somebody out there who reads this article tell me the reason why? Is it because veterinarians don't have the same standard of equipment that hospital doctors have?

His female cat went in for a standard spaying operation and came out severely injured. It makes me sick and mad to be honest.

Is it because veterinarians have to be doctors and anaesthesiologists at the same time? When you go to a hospital you have a surgeon and an anaesthesiologist in the operating room. Anaesthesiologist are highly trained specialists. There is lots of advanced equipment. Great care is taken. The standard is exceptionally high, normally.

My gut feeling is that the standard of care provided by veterinarians to cats when they are given a general anaesthetic is lower than for humans in hospitals. And it is this difference rather than a difference of cat and human anatomy which causes the up to 10 times greater fatality of cats when under a general anaesthetic.

And if I am correct, it is not good enough. But then perhaps this is a question of what the general public think they can afford when they take their cat or dog to a veterinarian. If a vet has to buy more advanced equipment they are going to charge more. There is already a problem with cat owners not taking their cat the veterinarians often enough. 

Veterinary cat care is well below that of dog veterinary care. Cat owners think that their cat is independent and with that thought in mind they tend to be switched off as to their cat companion's health problems.

This morning I wrote about a man who took his young to a veterinarian for a spaying operation. The cat was put under a general anaesthetic. The effect was catastrophic on this sweet female cat.

The video above comes from TikTok and it is tragic. It is hard to watch and it is extremely sad. It is not the first time that a female cat going in for a spaying operation has been killed by the anaesthetic. Years ago, a woman wrote in about her British Shorthair kitten who died under the same circumstances. She was bemused and confused. She didn't know why her kitten that died. Clearly the veterinarian had not told her. Perhaps he didn't know himself.

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