After your cat has expelled the last kitten and the entire placenta and, where appropriate, you have assisted her in a seemingly uneventful delivery, there are things to watch and evaluate regarding your cat’s health and comfort.
It is important to keep in mind that complications can arise at any time, immediately after birth, up to hours or even days later. This is why postpartum care for your mother cat is so important.
In this article, I am going to discuss a serious postpartum complication known as postpartum metritis .
What is metritis in cats
Metritis is a bacterial infection of the uterus that normally occurs within a week after the cat is delivered . It is characterized by an inflammation of the endometrium (lining) of the uterus due to infection.
It can also develop after a natural or medical abortion , a spontaneous abortion, or after a non-sterile insemination .
The bacteria most often responsible for infection of the uterus are Escherichia coli , which often spreads to the blood and causes a blood infection.
Infection can lead to sterility and, if left untreated, can lead to septic shock, which can be fatal.
Symptoms of feline metritis
- Discharge from the vulva, which smells bad, with pus or pus mixed with blood; discharge that is dark green.
- Swollen abdomen
- Reduction in milk production.
- Dark red gums.
- Kitten neglect.
- Lack of appetite.
- Increased heart rate if the bacterial infection has become systemic.
Causes of metritis in cats
The condition occurs when bacteria enter the uterus through the vagina. This occurs when the uterus is more susceptible to any of the following circumstances:
- Complicated birth of kittens.
- Prolonged delivery of kittens in childbirth, perhaps due to a large litter.
- Obstetric manipulation of the cat.
- Placentas or fetuses retained in the body of the cat.
- Natural or medical abortion.
- Spontaneous abortion.
- Artificial insemination.
Diagnosis of bacterial infection of the uterus in cats
The vet will perform a complete physical exam, which includes a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, an electrolyte panel, and a urinalysis.
These tests allow the vet to determine if the bacterial infection has spread to the blood, where the infection might have originated, and how dehydrated the cat is.
You will need to provide a complete history of your cat’s health, symptoms, and possible incidents that could have preceded this condition.
The X – rays and ultrasound imaging, allow the vet to see inside the uterus for retained fetuses or matter of birth, excessive accumulation of fluid that may have accumulated due to swelling or uterine rupture.
A sample of the vaginal discharge will also be taken for a cytology exam.
Treatment of metritis
If l to metritis is not in an advanced stage, chances are that the cat responds positively to medical treatment. The most successful would be to apply:
- IV fluid and electrolyte therapy.
- Evacuation of uterine contents.
- Use of medications such as oxytocin or prostaglandins, to stimulate the uterus to contract.
- If future breeding is not planned, ovariohysterectomyis usually the treatment of choice, once the cat is stabilized and has no problems with general anesthesia.
However, medical treatment does not always prevent the infection from progressing to a generalized abdominal infection and rupture of the uterus. Female cats with a long-term infection that does not respond to medical treatment may improve with a surgical cleaning of the uterus.
Recovery from feline metritis
If the cat is nursing and has been diagnosed with this bacterial infection in the blood, it will be best to raise the kittens by hand to avoid transmission of the infection through milk.
This can also prevent possible harm to kittens from exposure to prescribed antibiotics in their mother’s bloodstream.
Female cats that have been treated for metritis have the possibility of becoming less fertile or even infertile , making future reproduction difficult or impossible.
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