Much is written about the care that a cat requires during pregnancy and childbirth, but sometimes we forget about the postpartum phase , which is also a delicate period that requires our careful observation in case a problem arises. During this delicate moment, your observation skills are essential.
You should know the guidelines on how to handle the cat and her kittens, as well as the signs that warn you of health problems and the steps in the development of the kittens.
Pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period are stressful times for a new mother’s body. This new mother cat has a rush of hormones, milk production begins, and recovery from the birthing process is in full swing. Therefore, there are a number of postpartum diseases that can affect the cat.
Here are the possible postpartum conditions that a cat can suffer from.
1. Postpartum hemorrhage
Giving birth to kittens is both physically and mentally stressful for cats. It is normal for a cat to bleed after giving birth from the vulva, and cats tend to bleed more and longer if it is a first birth. At 48 hours after delivery, bleeding decreases, but a small amount of blood is still normal.
There are several reasons that female cats bleed after giving birth. A cat’s uterus contracts to return to its normal size. Often the cat sheds excess tissue and gives birth. Also with kittens, the placenta detaches, causing a small wound at the site of its insertion into the uterus.
Abnormal and excessive bleeding can be a sign of several complications. This may indicate an infection, uterine rupture or tear, a retained placenta, or a retained kitten.
Normal bleeding should be a light spot with an occasional watery discharge that is green, yellow, or clear. The bleeding may stop and then start again, but the amount of blood and the frequency of bleeding should gradually decrease over several days.
If the cat is nursing her kittens, eating, moving and is not lethargic, we would be facing normal postpartum bleeding.
A cat that bleeds large amounts needs immediate veterinary attention. You will notice that your cat is not nursing or eating, appears to be in pain or is lethargic, and the blood may give off an unpleasant odor. If the bleeding continues for more than a week after delivery or stops for a day and then starts again, something is wrong.
2. Metritis in cats
It is the medical term used to describe inflammation of the uterus. This uterine disease is similar to pyometra , but it has some differences. Unlike this, metritis is usually a uterine bacterial infection that develops in the immediate postpartum period (after childbirth) and occasionally after abortion or reproduction. It is most often associated with fetuses or retained placentas in queens.
The bacteria most often responsible for infection of the uterus are gram-negative bacteria such as Escherichia Coli , which often spreads to the blood causing an infection in the blood.
Causes of feline metritis
- Difficult or prolonged delivery of kittens.
- Natural or medical abortion, spontaneous abortion.
- Unsanitary conditions during childbirth.
- Infection due to fetuses or retained placentas.
Ways to treat metritis
With antibiotics to treat the underlying infection, also applying fluids to treat dehydration.
If necessary, the retained placenta, or the unborn kitten, will be removed from the uterus. An ovariohysterectomy may be necessary.
3. Agalactia in cats
It is a condition that affects a cat’s milk production after giving birth. The mother cat becomes unable to produce enough milk that can prove fatal to her offspring.
Several causes can explain agalactia:
- Cat stress.
- Inflammation of the breasts.
- Generalized infection
- Postpartum fatigue.
- Cesarean deliveries.
What should I do if my cat has agalactia?
First, it is very important to identify the cause of the condition. If, for example, the room where the cat is is too hot, the temperature is necessary.
In the case of agalactia caused by stress, tranquilizer medications can be given, but only under veterinary supervision. In any case, consultation with a specialist is necessary in all cases, since the absence of milk can be fatal for kittens.
In case of a simple milk ejection failure, oxytocin injections will be effective, which unfortunately will not work in case of complete agalactia, that is, lack of development of breast tissue.
Although the condition does not harm the cat, kittens quickly become dehydrated, which can be fatal. When a cat is unable to produce enough milk to feed her offspring, it is important to step in and begin bottle feeding the kittens.
You can choose to use kitten milk substitutes. Feeding kittens from a bottle requires a lot of effort and a very precise schedule. 4 to 5 meals a day, every 6 hours. The recommended doses are 5 ml per 100 grams, increasing by 1 to 2 ml per day.
4. Mastitis in cats
It is an inflammation of the mammary glands . This disease occurs when bacteria enter one or more of the breasts, covering them and causing infection.
You should go to the vet immediately, as the milk that comes out of the infected breast is toxic to kittens. It can cause septicemia and even death.
The condition primarily affects the cats in the postpartum.
Symptoms and types of mastitis
- Loss of desire to eat.
- Firm, swollen, warm and painful mammary glands from which purulentor hemorrhagic fluid can be expressed
- Neglected kittens.
- Kittens have a hard time developing.
- Fever, dehydrationand septic shock with systemic involvement.
- Abscesses or gangreneof the glands, if not cured.
Causes of mastitis
- Ascending infection through the nipplecanals
- Trauma caused to the mammary glands by a kitten’s toenails or teeth.
- Poor hygiene.
- Generalized infection that originates in other parts of the body.
How to treat mastitis in cats
Once diagnosed, treatment for mastitis in cats is usually easy to administer at home. A course of antibiotics is used for mastitis caused by an infection. If the cat is nursing, you may need to hand-milk him every six hours to ensure that the milk is being expressed properly.
A fresh, clean compress should be adhered to the infected areas for two to four hours without a compress for two to four hours (cabbage leaves can also be used). Following your veterinarian’s medical advice accurately should result in a full recovery in less than a month.
5. Feline eclampsia
Eclampsia (postpartum hypocalcemia or tetany) is a life-threatening drop in blood calcium levels that occurs in lactating cats. Eclampsia occurs most often when kittens are between one and five weeks old and the mother produces the most milk.
Eclampsia indicates that the lactating female cannot provide amounts of stored calcium quickly enough for her metabolic needs.
Signs of eclampsia are tremors, weakness, and a form of paralysis called puerperal tetany characterized by stiff limbs and an inability to stand or walk. The female may be restless or panting a lot, and you may notice that she is moving stiffly. This can trigger muscle spasms and seizures. Some affected lactating cats may become disoriented, aggressive, have a high fever, restlessness and excessive rhythm.
Eclampsia is considered an immediate emergency and medical attention should be sought. If you suspect that eclampsia is developing, prevent kittens from nursing and contact your vet immediately.
How is eclampsia treated
Treatment involves immediate intravenous injections of calcium and other medications. Intravenous calcium must be administered very carefully and slowly. Some cats will require anti-seizure medications to control seizures and tetany.
Oral calcium supplements and weaning of kittens are required as quickly as possible. If diagnosed and treated quickly, recovery from eclampsia is usually quick and complete.
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