Permanent tracheostomy is indicated when upper airway obstruction is prolonged or cannot be relieved. In cats, the most common reasons for permanent tracheostomy are laryngeal masses, ILD, laryngeal paralysis, tracheal disruption, and severe idiopathic laryngeal or pharyngeal swelling.1,2 Complications associated with permanent tracheostomy in dogs and cats that have been reported include stenosis of the stoma and obstruction of the stoma with a foreign body, skin folds, or mucous secretions.1–6
In our experience, permanent tracheostomy is uncommonly performed in cats, possibly because of a belief that mucus will occlude the stoma after surgery, resulting in a poor outcome. To our knowledge, however, there have been only 4 published reports1,2,7,8 on the outcome of permanent tracheostomy in cats, and 2 of these were only case reports.7,8 In a study1 involving 34 dogs and cats that underwent permanent tracheostomy, morbidity and mortality rates reportedly were low and overall quality of life was improved in most patients. However, the study included only 11 cats, and no data were given regarding outcome of this procedure in cats specifically. In a more recent study2 involving 7 cats that underwent permanent tracheostomy, 3 of the cats were euthanatized because of progressive anorexia or dysphagia and 3 died suddenly, presumably because of occlusion of the tracheal stoma. In the remaining cat, the tracheal stoma was surgically closed.
More information on the outcome of permanent tracheostomy in cats with upper airway obstruction would be useful when advising clients about possible treatment options. The purposes of the study reported here were to determine clinical outcome of permanent tracheostomy in cats with upper airway obstruction and identify factors associated with postoperative outcome.
Inflammatory laryngeal disease
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Egret Statistical Software, version 2.0, Cytel Software Corp, Cambridge, Mass.