Splenectomy in Cats

Overview of Feline Splenectomy

Splenectomy is the medical term for the surgical removal of the cat’s spleen. This procedure is most commonly performed for tumors of the spleen, trauma to the spleen or torsion of the spleen (twisting of the blood vessels supplying the spleen).

Splenic torsion is most commonly seen in large and giant breed dogs but can also occur in cats. Older cats can get various types of splenic tumors. Trauma or rupture of the spleen can occur after any severe traumatic event, such as being kicked, falling from a high distance or hit by a car.

Diagnostics Tests and Questions Prior to Your Cats Splenectomy

Your veterinarian will ask you many questions to develop a complete history of the progression of the cat’s problem. These questions will include:

Your veterinarian will also examine your pet completely, including checking for a fever and listening to his heart and lungs. He/she will palpate (feel) your pet’s abdomen to check for an enlarged spleen, fluid in the abdomen or pain in the abdomen and will check your pet’s gums to see if they are pale, which could indicate either anemia or shock.

Treatment of Your Cat with a Spleen Problem

Home Care for Cats After Splenectomy

Closely follow your veterinarian’s instructions on post-operative care in order to get the best results. You should also restrict your pet from activity for at least one to two weeks after surgery.

Preventative Care

If your pet collapses, shows signs of exercise intolerance, or if your pet’s gums are white, you should see a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Information In-depth for Feline Splenectomy

Splenectomy is the medical term for the surgical removal of the spleen. This procedure is often combined with exploratory abdominal surgery, in which all of the abdominal organs are inspected and biopsies are collected if needed.

Indications for splenectomy include splenic tumors, splenic torsion, which is twisting of the blood vessels supplying the spleen, and trauma to the spleen.

Splenic Tumors

The most common splenic tumor in dogs is hemangiosarcoma. Splenic tumors are common in dogs but can also occur in cats. It is usually seen in older animals. Other types of tumors affecting the spleen include fibrosarcoma, mast cell tumor, lymphoma, osteosarcoma and leiomyosarcoma. Blood clots, or hematomas, are also seen.

Splenic Torsion

Splenic torsion is most commonly seen in large and giant breed dogs and can occur in cats but is considered rare. It is also sometimes seen with gastric dilation and volvulus (GDV). Symptoms of a splenic torsion include pacing, and frequent changes in body position while sitting or lying down, drooling, gagging, retching, physical weakness, mental dullness, sudden collapse.

Pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas, is often seen with splenic torsion, as the pancreas is located adjacent to the spleen. Pancreatitis causes abdominal pain and vomiting.


Trauma to the spleen from a kick or a car accident can result in rupture of the spleen. If the spleen ruptures from trauma or from a tumor bursting, the patient can lose a lot of blood into his abdominal cavity causing shock and collapse.

Diagnosis In-depth for Cats Prior to Splenectomy

In-Depth Therapy for Cats with Splenectomy

After surgery, your pet will need to be monitored and treated for anemia, pain and heart arrhythmias. Depending on the biopsy results, your veterinarian may recommend further therapies, such as chemotherapy.

Follow-up Care for Cats After Splenectomy

Optimal treatment for your pet requires a combination of home and professional veterinary care. Follow-up can be critical, especially if your pet does not rapidly improve.

Administer all prescribed medications as directed. Alert your veterinarian if you are experiencing problems treating your pet. You should also follow your veterinarian’s instructions closely for post-operative care, including exercise restriction for 1-2 weeks. This allows the abdominal incision to heal.

Use an Elizabethan collar if your cat tries to lick or remove his stitches or staples in the skin incision.