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Can You Still Neuter A Cat With A Heart Murmur?

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Heart murmurs are rare in cats, and when they occur in a younger animal, they can present significant obstacles to otherwise standard healthcare like spaying and neutering. Anesthesia paired with any cardiological condition poses a serious risk, and many veterinarians will refuse to perform the operation entirely if they suspect a murmur. But if you aren't excited about the idea of your male kitten someday becoming a father, with all of the behavioral problems involved, you may still have options. 

Confirming the Condition

First, even without neutering on the table, you should seek a veterinary cardiologist to conduct an ultrasound on your pet. Even the noisiest murmurs may turn out to be an inconsequential defect, while a quiet stutter can be hiding something much more severe. An ultrasound will allow a vet to take a long look at the issue and determine whether or not it is a legitimate concern. Your cat may be cleared for surgery at this point, but a high-risk murmur may also rule out surgery as a safe option. 

Weighing the Benefits and Risks of Neutering

If your cat is a  borderline case, you will need to carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of neutering. Intact males are more prone to wandering, marking, and aggression against other cats, and they may also contribute to the existing overpopulation problem currently swamping shelters. Whole male cats are also more likely to develop prostate problems or testicular cancer later on. Considering that neuter surgery is shorter and less invasive than spaying, you may find that the benefits of having your cat clipped still outweigh a minor risk during surgery. 

Considering the Alternatives

When surgery is not an option, you will be faced with some harder choices. In order to keep your cat safe and safely away from females, who may carry communicable diseases, you will likely need to keep him indoors his whole life. If you were already planning to do so, this may not pose much of a problem. Otherwise, you should start making plans to keep your cat inside where he won't get into trouble. 

Seeking Special Accommodations During Surgery

In most cases, male cats with heart murmurs are eventually still able to be neutered. To be especially safe during surgery, you may decide to invest in heart-monitoring equipment or to have a cardiologist in attendance to recognize and begin treating any problems quickly. As always, talking to your veterinarian or spay and neuter clinic about your options moving forward is typically your best course of action. With some ingenuity and luck, your cat should be safely neutered as usual, and will hopefully experience no further complications from his heart murmur.

For additional information, talk to a vet at a veterinary hospital such as the Norwin Veterinary Hospital.