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Feline Kidney Transplants

A Brief History of Feline Kidney Transplants Feline Kidney Transplant Facilities The Transplant Procedure The Kidney Recipient The Kidney Donor The Caregivers

The Transplant Procedure

The entire procedure will last about four hours but could take longer if there are any complications. The kidney should be removed from the donor and transplanted to the recipient in less than an hour, to minimize the length of time that it is without a blood supply. The recipient's existing kidneys are seldom removed and the new kidney is placed in the lower abdomen next to the bladder. The ureter from the donor kidney is attached directly to the bladder and the new kidney is connected to the recipient's blood vessels. Vein, artery and ureter attachments are all microsurgical procedures that are performed using an operating microscope.

While the recipient is under anesthesia, a stomach tube may be installed to insure a way to provide nourishment if the patient will not eat. This is a tube that protrudes from the patient's side and will remain for some time after discharge from the hospital. The recipient's fur is shaved for the surgery and the area is quite extensive: abdomen, chest, sides, neck (for an IV catheter) and usually several limbs for taking blood samples.

Many things can go wrong during any major surgical procedure but an experienced transplant surgeon can deal with most contingencies that may occur during this particular complex process. Since the mid 1980s when the transplant program first began, the overall success rate has been about 70%. In more recent years this has risen significantly, to about 90%. Donor selection has improved, candidate qualification is more rigid and surgical techniques have been developed to overcome some of the common fatal problems that were encountered with earlier transplant cases.

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