WHAT IS PYOMETRA?
Pyometra is defined as an accumulation of pus within the uterus, which can develop because of the hormonal, anatomical, and physiological changes that occur after a cat has gone through a heat cycle but does not become pregnant. Bacteria then take advantage of the situation, resulting in a potentially fatal infection.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF PYOMETRA IN CATS?
Some cats with pyometra show no signs, or may show vague clinical signs like lethargy, fever, dehydration, and poor appetite, even if they are suffering from very advanced disease.
Vomiting may also be present. Because the signs of pyometra can be mild and/or ambiguous, abdominal imaging (x-rays and/or ultrasound) is sometimes the only way to definitively diagnose or rule out cases of pyometra in cats.
If a cat with pyometra has an open cervix, pus (often tinged with blood) will drain from the cat’s vagina, but fastidious feline groomers often clean it away before owners can observe it. Because the pus has a way to get out of the body, these cats may not show many signs of systemic illness.
In comparison, when a cat with pyometra has a closed cervix, the pus will accumulate within and distend the uterus, leading to pain, abdominal enlargement, and more obvious signs of illness. The uterus may eventually rupture, leading to peritonitis—infection of the abdominal cavity—which is fatal without aggressive treatment.
While increased thirst and urination are classic symptoms of pyometra in dogs, these clinical signs are rarely observed in cats.
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