Kitten stopped breathing while being neutered...help!

by Samantha Shelton
(Waterloo, WI)

My kitten Eugene just got taken in to be neutered and stopped breathing while under. My question is this... will he have damage from this... and how common is it that it happens?


He is my baby and I'm extremely nervous currently even though he is waking up now.

Editor's note: I don't blame you for being nervous, Samantha. I'd be nervous too.

I don't have any data on how often this might happen, but anytime a cat goes under anesthesia, there are risks. Your vet should be able to tell you how common this is, and also be able to tell you if there are any lasting effects.

Generally speaking, though, his brain would have to have been deprived of oxygen for long enough for cell damage to occur. I think that's unlikely given that he was under the vet's care at the time.

But, I would question why he stopped breathing. Was it a matter of error, or does he have some underlying condition that caused it?

For example, cats with heart conditions aren't put under anesthesia unless it's absolutely necessary, because there is a high risk of complications.

It probably goes without saying, but if he were my kitty, I would want him kept at least overnight at the vet. I would also want a full physical done on him as to see if he has a condition that may have caused this.

I wish I could help you more. Please keep us updated.
-Kurt

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Apr 17, 2012
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One lucky kitty!
by: Ashleigh

I had the same thing happen to my 1 year old cat when he was being neutered. Luckily, the vet was right there to give him mouth-to-mouth and he quickly came back to us.

Later at a routine exam by a different vet, I found out he has a grade 3 heart murmur and that is probably why he stopped breathing under anesthetic. He is now 6 years old and very active. His murmur doesn't slow him down one bit and he leads a happy, normal life!

Have your vet check your little man's heart so you know if he needs any special care for future surgeries. It's possible he just had a reaction to the drugs and should be given a different kind - the gas anesthetic is safer than the injectable one.

Thanks for sharing your story. I hope for the best for your little kitten!

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