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Ask the Veterinarian/Crackling sound under cat's skin after spay



I had my one year old female cat spayed 3 days ago. Since that time, she has been very active despite my attempts to keep her calm and resting, and has been eating, sleeping, drinking, and using her litter box normally. She doesn't seem to be in any pain or acting any differently than she did prior to surgery.

Today I noticed that her skin is making a crackling noise on her sides in her midsection area. It almost sounds like crumpling newspaper or rice krispies. My vet's office is closed today but I'm still very concerned about this crackling sound. What is this sound caused by, does it require emergency treatment, and can the cause be fatal to my cat?

Thank you very much for your help.

This is called subcutaneous emphysema and it is just air bubbles under the skin.  When the cat is active, the incisional skin flaps and pumps air under the skin.  I would recommend keeping her in a crate and not letting her out.  Usually this air will absorb.  Let your vet know about this condition.

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Dr. Louis N. Gotthelf


Dermatology and ear diseases of dogs and cats


I am the author of "Small Animal Ear Diseases; An Illustrated Guide" published by W.B. Saunders. I have over 25 years of clinical experience with a special interest in dermatologic conditions and ear diseases.

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