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 ), 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.