The success of a surgical procedure is reliant on thorough preoperative preparation and good postoperative nursing and nutrition, in addition to surgical technique. In recent years there has been an increased awareness of pain assessment and treatment in cats and also the development of cat friendly environments.
Initially, a thorough preoperative assessment of the patient is required and this is covered in detail in the first chapter in the book. Cats need a calm approach to assessment, and there are many aspects of both the physical examination and the environment in which the cat is examined that can be adapted to suit the nature of the cat.
The second chapter on anesthesia and analgesia focuses on cats with surgical diseases of the various organ systems including the thorax, abdomen, and head and neck. Analgesia of the cat should continue throughout the perioperative period. There have been big advances and progress made in the assessment of pain in the cat. Pain in cats is not always easy to detect, particularly as cats are often anxious and stressed due to their visit to the veterinarian. Pain scoring of cats should be something that is done routinely in both the preoperative and postoperative period. A cat that has had surgery performed should always be given the benefit of the doubt and given analgesia even if the signs of pain are not obvious. The subsequent two chapters are also focused on postoperative care. During the postoperative period the cat needs regular assessment to ensure it has a smooth recovery from surgery so complications are avoided, or recognized and treated promptly when they do occur. Thoughtful postoperative nursing can improve the recovery for the cat, and decrease the stress of hospitalization.
Surgical patients may require blood or blood products and the mechanisms and practicalities associated with giving a cat a blood transfusion are well described. If there is pre-existing blood loss or anemia, then the transfusion can be given preoperatively. If it is anticipated that there may be significant blood loss intraoperatively, then blood should be readily available in case it is needed. In either case the cat should be blood typed and cross-matched in preparation for a safe transfusion.
Cats that are unwell and hospitalized are not always keen to eat, and inappetent cats, particularly if overweight, are at risk of hepatic lipidosis. The importance of adequate nutrition and encouraging oral feeding cannot be overlooked and this topic is discussed in detail in the final chapter of this part of the book. Cats that eat postoperatively can usually be discharged more quickly and recover more swiftly.