Can the anesthesia tubing in cats damage the vocal cord?, my cat got spayed and she tries to meow but not noise anymore.

The female cat got spayed at Humane Ohio. Since then she did not meow anymore. I have been observing her and noticed she tries to meow but it comes out soundless, no noise, just the air pssing through. Is possible the vocal cords or vocal nerves got damaged? Is there any treatment? is this damage reversible?. She still can purrs and hiss. How can I find out if there is permanent or temporary damage?- Please, help.

Asked by Member 1024253 on Feb 21st 2011 Tagged health, laws in Laws & Legislation
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Izadore (Izzie)

I'm not a vet, but I would guess that if the larynx spasmed during the intubation, it's quite possible that it was damaged. Here's what I would do if it were my cat: I have a "family" vet, so I would take my cat to my vet. If you don't already have a vet on board, now would be a good time to find one for her. I would ask my vet to examine her throat to look for damage. Let the vet diagnose whether there is damage, if it's temporary and if anything can be done other than just waiting for it to heal. If damage was done, ask them if they think you should notify the humane shelter where the spay was done. If someone is doing damage while intubating animals, retraining might be necessary for that technician. Even if it was a fluke, something should be done for your kitty by the shelter, even if helping pay your vet bill. Was she a "loud" meower previous? Some cats don't make much noise when they meow. But I would have her examined by your vet just to make sure.

Izadore (Izzie) answered on 2/22/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Damage to the larynx during intubation is definately possible - on accident, by an untrained staff member, by using too big of an intubation tube, etc. Where I live, the low-cost spay/neuter clinics allows & encourages its clients to call them in case of any complication. Not only will they treat the problem, but they also do not charge for any treatment rendered due to a complication of surgery. This may very well be the case with the Humane Society in Ohio as well. Please get her checked over to make sure she is not in any pain or in need of medical care. Best of luck to you both :)

Dahlia answered on 2/22/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


Hi, my name is Jill Borkowski and I'm Humane Ohio's part time marketing manager. First of all, thank you for choosing to spay/neuter and for keeping a close eye on your baby following the procedure! I wanted to share a response with you from our veterinarian and Medical Director, Dr. Kelly Ann Rada:

"Sometimes endotracheal tubes can cause a little soreness for a few days after surgery, and occasionally a mild cough. If it has been longer than a few days, your baby should definitely be seen by a veterinarian for evaluation because the most common cause of voice change in dogs and cats is a problem with the nerves that supply the vocal cords. Or, that may not be the case, but I'd always rather be safe than sorry. We'd be happy to have your kitty in for a re-check at no cost. Please feel free to call me at 419-266-5607, x104 if you'd like to schedule an appointment."

Member 1025000 answered on 2/28/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer