In this VETgirl online veterinary CE blog, we demonstrate how to intubate a cat. Cats are harder to intubate due to their severe laryngeal spasm. In cats, we traditionally use a high volume, low pressure endotracheal tube (ETT; sizes 3.5-4). With cats – particularly those cats undergoing dental procedures – make sure not to overinflate the cuff, as this can result in tracheal tear and secondary subcutaneous emphysema. (Thankfully, most cats with tracheal rupture secondary to ETT intubation did well and survived with medical management).
In this video, we demonstrate how to intubate a cat using a laryngoscope, stylet, and appropriately-sized endotracheal tube. If you don’t feel comfortable quickly and efficiently intubating a cat, make sure to perfect your skills on a deceased patient, as this is a life-saving procedure (particularly for cats that have undergone cardiopulmonary arrest).
1. Mitchell SL, McCarthy R, Rudloff E, Pernell RT. Tracheal rupture associated with intubation in cats: 20 cases (1996-1998). J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000;216(10):1592-5.