PUHI — Kauai Humane Society has temporarily halted its spay and neuter program following the deaths of two patients in March.
Both patients were feral cats, strays that had been dropped off by caretakers for sterilization, and both died after the sterilization procedure was completed.
“It’s rare, but it does happen once in a while,” said Scott Pisani, executive director of the Kauai Humane Society. “We’ve been in the process of reviewing the medical department, and so we’re taking this opportunity to review our spay and neuter program.”
The spay and neuter program at KHS was officially closed on April 3, and staff members have developed a wait list for when the clinic reopens.
Staff is recommending that people contact one of the island’s veterinarians for procedures that can’t wait.
“We want to encourage responsible pet ownership and we know that sterilization is a huge part of that,” Pisani said.
The date for reopening the KHS sterilization clinic has yet to be determined.
The first patient KHS lost was a female cat that died a few days after surgery in early March. Staff members at KHS theorize the cat had liver problems that complicated the surgery. The caretaker reported the death to KHS.
“When the veterinarian cut into the first cat, that’s when they started wondering if it had liver problems because the tissue was yellowed inside,” Pisani said.
The second patient was a male cat that died while recovering from anesthesia at the KHS faculty. Staff members don’t have as clear of a picture about what happened with that cat.
“It was in recovery and appeared to be doing fine, and in the next check it had passed,” said Dr. Dawn Ushio, KHS staff veterinarian. “This was a cat that we couldn’t touch or examine before the anesthesia.”
Ushio said she’s had a couple of patients pass away during sterilization processes in the past 17 years she has worked for KHS.
“It does happen sometimes, but it’s very rare,” she said.
Deaths relating to anesthesia statistics are one in 1,000 cats and one in 2,000 dogs, according to the Humane Society of the United States.
In fiscal year 2016, KHS did 2,471 sterilization surgeries and they’ve done 2,323 surgeries in FY 2017. Of those 2,323 surgeries, three patients have died in FY 2017. That’s a mortality rate of 0.1 percent.
“Our vets are top notch, and it sometimes happens,” Pisani said.