Spay and neuter surgeries, like any medical procedure, expose animals to unexpected complications.
The Risk for Community Cats
Community cats are at even greater risk than pets treated by traditional veterinary clinics for a variety of reasons:
- There is no way to determine the cats’ ages or discover any pre-existing medical conditions prior to anesthesia.
- The high stress experienced by captive feral cats increases their risk of anesthetic complications.
- The wild nature of feral cats does not allow handling and observation during the recovery period, making it difficult to recognize and treat post-operative problems.
While a certain number of complications associated with surgery are unavoidable, Operation Catnip continually strives to provide the highest level of care.
- All cats that die unexpectedly during an Operation Catnip clinic undergo a necropsy to determine the cause of death.
- If a cat dies after release from a clinic, caregivers are instructed to notify Operation Catnip immediately so arrangements can be made to promptly return the body, as necropsies are most informative when performed within 24 hours of death. Caregivers are advised to place the body in a plastic bag and preserve it by refrigeration (not freezing) until the body can be returned.
- All fatal and non-fatal complications occurring during or after the clinic are reported to the Clinic Records Recorder, who records the details in the Incident Log. Appropriate actions are determined and implemented as needed.
- A thorough investigation of each incident is undertaken in order to prevent a re-occurrence.
Operation Catnip Rate of Unexpected Death
The rate of unexpected death in our clinics is less than 0.3%, lower than full-service veterinary hospitals. In some cases, serious underlying medical conditions were discovered during necropsy. In the remaining deaths, complications associated with anesthesia, surgery, or post-operative care were the cause.