I have never had a cat with pyometra until I fostered a stray cat in September 2021. Mazikeen, as I named her, did not like being kept indoors at first and she would grab every opportunity to escape outside. She finally settled down after a few weeks. Her favorite spots in the house were my bed and on top of the fridge. She had taken a liking to Harley, a rescued kitten that I was also fostering, and had decided to “adopt” her. She would follow Harley around the house, groom her, and take naps beside her. They were inseparable.
On the day of Mazikeen’s spaying, I dropped her off at the vet clinic early in the morning then I went home. Later that day, I received a call from Mazikeen’s vet who informed me that Mazikeen was pregnant but her uterus was also infected. The vet said that they had to perform a spay-abort as the infected uterus had to be surgically removed. It was an unexpected development as I had not seen any sign that Mazikeen was sick in any way, but I was relieved that her surgery had gone well.
As fur parents, it is always beneficial to arm ourselves with information so we will know the signs to look out for next time. I did a little research about pyometra, and here is what I learned:
What is pyometra? According to animalcenter.com, pyometra is “an infection of the uterus in dogs and cats. It is relatively common, affecting approximately 25% of unspayed female dogs and cats. It is a serious condition which results in a variety of clinical and pathological signs requiring emergency surgery to remove the infected uterus.”
It is a life-threatening condition, and therefore another reason to have your pets spayed. Furthermore, having your pets spayed is less expensive than having them treated for pyometra as it requires longer surgery time, the incision is larger, and it is more expensive than a routine spay.
Which animal is susceptible to pyometra? Pyometra can affect any animal that has not been fixed.
What is the recommended treatment for pyometra? According to vcahospitals.com, “The preferred treatment is to surgically remove the uterus and ovaries. The Pyometra surgery is somewhat more complicated than a routine spay.”
An alternative treatment is prostaglandin injections. In this kind of medical treatment, special hormones called prostaglandins are injected into the pet causing the uterus to contract and eject its pus. However, the downside is pyometra can recur.
What are the signs of pyometra in cats? Some cats exhibit no signs. However, thesprucepets.com says some cats show symptoms such as bloody or puss-filled vaginal discharge, urinating outside of the litterbox, bloated abdomen, lethargy, vomiting, decreased appetite, blood in urine, increased urination, increased thirst, and excessive licking at the vaginal opening.
What are the symptoms of pyometra in dogs? Dogs and cats have the same symptoms but harmonyanimalhospital.net says dogs “may also appear to be uncomfortable, because pyometra is a particularly painful condition for dogs, while being somewhat less so for cats.”
How to prevent pyometra? Having your pet spayed is the only way to prevent a pyometra.
What is the aftercare for pets after pyometra surgery? In Mazikeen’s case, the aftercare was minimal. I just had to make sure that her vet’s instructions were strictly followed, her meds given on time, and her incision protected by having her wear an Elizabethan collar.
Additionally, the American College of Veterinary surgeons says on their website that “The care is generally the same as it would be for a routine spay; however, your pet will be on antibiotics as prescribed by your veterinarian for at least 10 days. The animal should not be allowed to have normal play, stairs, or any off-leash activities for the first two weeks after surgery, and the incision should be protected from self-trauma.”
I am glad that Maziken’s pyometra was discovered early on before it was too late. She and her “adopted” kitty Harley have found their forever home. They were adopted together. The inseparable duo will never be separated, thanks to compassionate people who choose to adopt homeless animals. Mazikeen’s and Harley’s new names are Sersi and Sprite, respectively. New names for a new chapter in their life with their forever family.
About the author: Rowena David is faculty member at College of Computer Science in the University of Makati, is a freelance writer (Tagalog short novels), admin of Philippine Pet Lovers Society Facebook page, an animal rescuer and animal welfare advocate.