Outcome of permanent tracheostomy for treatment of upper airway obstruction in cats: 21 cases (1990-2007)

Matthew W. Stepnik, Margo L. Mehl, Elizabeth M. Hardie, Philip H Kass, S. Brent Reimer, Bonnie G. Campbell, Michael B. Mison, Chad W. Schmiedt, Clare R. Gregory, H. Phil Hobson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Objective-To determine clinical outcome of permanent tracheostomy in cats with upper airway obstruction. Design-Retrospective case series. Animals-21 cats. Procedures-Medical records were reviewed for information on history, signalment, clinical signs, results of preoperative clinicopathologic testing, cause of upper airway obstruction, surgical procedure, postoperative complications, and outcome. Results-Causes of upper airway obstruction included neoplasia (squamous cell carcinoma [n = 6) or malignant lymphoma [2]), inflammatory laryngeal disease (5), laryngeal paralysis (4), trauma (3), and a laryngeal mass of unknown cause (1). Fourteen cats had dyspnea in the immediate postoperative period; dyspnea most often resulted from mucous plugs at the stoma or elsewhere in the respiratory tract. Eleven cats died, including 6 cats that died while hospitalized after surgery and 5 cats that died after discharge; 7 cats were euthanatized, most often because of progression of neoplasia; and 2 were still alive at the time of the study. The remaining cat was lost to follow-up after discharge from the hospital. Overall, median survival time for the 20 cats for which information was available was 20.5 days (range, 1 day to 5 years). Cats that underwent permanent tracheostomy because of inflammatory laryngeal disease were 6.61 times as likely to die as cats that.underwent permanent tracheostomy for any other reason. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance-Results indicated that permanent tracheostomy was an uncommon procedure in cats with upper airway obstruction that was associated with high complication and mortality rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)638-643
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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