Tracheostomy in cats: 23 cases (1998-2006)

J Feline Med Surg. 2007 Dec;9(6):451-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jfms.2007.06.002. Epub 2007 Aug 10.


Tracheostomies can be used to provide a patent airway in animals with upper airway obstruction but have been reported to be more difficult to manage in cats than in other animals. The purpose of this study is to retrospectively describe the indications, complications and outcome of cats undergoing tracheostomy. Twenty-three cats underwent tracheostomy for laryngeal mass (n=13), trauma (n=5) and upper airway swelling (n=5). Major and minor complications were recorded in 10 and 17 cats, respectively. Seventeen cats were discharged to home, four cats were euthanased and two cats died in hospital. Complications with stoma healing were reported in one cat. Of seven cats discharged with a permanent tracheostomy, one cat is alive and six cats survived at home for between 2 and 281 days. Although complications are common, temporary tracheostomies can be beneficial for conditions in which the underlying cause can be treated. Despite risk of occlusion, permanent tracheostomies can be effective palliative procedures for cats with severe upper airway disease.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Airway Obstruction / surgery
  • Airway Obstruction / veterinary*
  • Animals
  • Cat Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cat Diseases / surgery*
  • Cats
  • Female
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / surgery
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / veterinary
  • Larynx / injuries
  • Larynx / surgery
  • Male
  • Massachusetts / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / veterinary
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tracheostomy / statistics & numerical data
  • Tracheostomy / veterinary*