During pregnancy, a cat can unfortunately miscarry , although this may not affect her emotionally, it can sometimes cause health problems and put her life in danger.
Miscarriages in cats are more common than you think, so it is important that you know how to identify the signs that something is wrong during your cat’s pregnancy, and if necessary go to the vet. Sometimes a kitten may not give birth to a litter because she loses the fetuses long enough before the gestation is complete, or they may still be born when the date of birth arrives. This can affect your cat physically and emotionally, so it is very important to know the key signs and know what to do in this situation.
Next, I explain what you should know about abortion in cats and thus avoid future health problems for your pet.
What is miscarriage?
Miscarriage refers to the death of a fetus during pregnancy . This stillbirth can occur at any time during pregnancy, although the results of miscarriage vary depending on the stage of gestation in which it occurs.
Some miscarriages occur during the first half of pregnancy (before 45 days). In these cases, the embryo is often reabsorbed by the body and the abortion can go completely unnoticed . It may even happen that one or more kittens in the litter can be aborted and reabsorbed, while others are born normally.
In an intermediate phase of pregnancy , when abortion occurs, the cat usually has blood and tissue losses. In this case, it is usually difficult to perceive it because the cat usually eats and cleans them.
Miscarriages can also occur later in pregnancy . These miscarriages can cause kittens to be expelled dead, on or before their date of birth.
In some cases, a deceased fetus can mummify within the uterus. Mummification occurs when the body creates a protective membrane around the fetus, allowing it to remain enclosed and protected within the uterus. In many cases, mummification poses no threat to the cat; in others, it can lead to infection.
Causes of miscarriage
Infection is a common cause of miscarriage in cats . These infections can be viral, bacterial or parasitic in nature.
Most feline miscarriages are caused by viral infections, including feline leukemia virus , feline immunodeficiency virus , panleukopenia , feline herpes virus, and feline enteric coronavirus .
Abortion can be caused by bacteria such as brucella , which is contagious between cats and can infect people.
Miscarriages can also be caused by hormonal changes or abnormalities. Progesterone is the hormone responsible for maintaining pregnancy in the cat, low levels of this hormone can lead to miscarriage.
Signs and symptoms of abortion in a cat
In many cases, there are no visible signs of abortion , especially in early abortions due to reabsorption of the embryo.
Long-term miscarriages can have clinical signs, but they can also be asymptomatic. Abnormal vaginal discharge (brown, green, black, or pus-colored) at any time during pregnancy, abdominal pain, and fever are potential signs of miscarriage or infection. Additionally, some miscarriage cats will begin to have contractions and give birth to dead kittens.
You will have to go to the vet as soon as you notice any of the following symptoms in your cat:
- Abnormal bleeding from the vagina
- Discharge or pus in the vaginal area
- Return from heat.
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of fetal or placental tissue.
- Signs of pain or discomfort.
How is miscarriage diagnosed?
If a miscarriage is suspected, an ultrasound is used to examine the pregnancy and determine if the fetuses are viable. Monitoring the progesterone level may also be necessary, abnormal progesterone levels may indicate a failed pregnancy.
After a miscarriage has occurred, testing of both the mother and the fetus may be recommended to look for possible infectious causes of miscarriage. Blood tests performed on the mother, vaginal fluid cultures, and histopathology (microscopic examination) of the fetus can determine the cause of the miscarriage.
Finding a cause for the miscarriage, especially if that cause is a treatable condition, can improve the outcome of future pregnancies.
Treatments in case of spontaneous abortion in cats
Treatment can be more or less invasive depending on whether the cause is infectious or not. Treatment will be tailored according to the specific needs of the cat.
Infectious causes: abortions due to an underlying disease or infection may require hospitalization. Affected cats must be isolated to prevent the spread of the disease. Specific treatment will vary depending on the underlying disease or infection. Infections are usually treated with intravenous fluids and injectable antibiotics. This can prevent a miscarriage or, if it has already occurred, can prevent more serious medical complications for the cat.
Non-infectious causes: Surgery may be needed for cats suffering from certain conditions, particularly inflammation in the reproductive organs, or if the miscarriage is life-threatening. Drug therapy, specifically terbutaline , may also be necessary to ensure that the pregnancy lasts.
If hormonal imbalances are suspected, a progesterone supplement may be recommended . This medicine is given to maintain adequate hormone levels to support pregnancy. This medication requires careful monitoring to prevent complications.
How to cause an abortion of a cat?
To permanently prevent pregnancy in your cat, the best option is sterilization (ovariohysterectomy). For the termination of pregnancy, having to exclude the abortion of a cat at home , these are the veterinary options administered by a professional:
A vet can administer them to prevent the pregnancy from advancing. The estrogen should be injected shortly after intercourse to be effective. However, there are several potential side effects to be aware of, including bone marrow suppression and pyometra (i.e. infection of the uterus ).
They are generally not recommended because they are ineffective and can cause pyometra in female cats.
Prostaglandin F2 alpha
It is a natural hormone that has been shown to induce a safe abortion in cats. Most side effects are often mild, if present. Some of the known side effects are gasping, shaking, nausea, and diarrhea.
It is also a valid option to cause an abortion in cats . The injection is usually followed by side effects, such as panting, polydyspia, and polyuria .
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