Cat owners are statistically proven to live longer, happier lives. The reasons are many and they are varied, but they are true. Scientists and medical professionals have examined the results of many trials that do show that pet owners –cat or dog – do live longer. Much of this is due to the fact that animals are very relaxing, comforting and provide people with something to look forward to at the end of the day. Did you know the simple act of petting a cat is considered stress-relieving? It is; and that’s another part of the reason owning a cat is going to vastly improve your overall quality of life. But what happens when your health is good, but your cat seems to be suffering? How do you know if your cat is very ill or just having an off day? There are many health issues cats can contract, and some of them are very dangerous. Others are not as dangerous and do not require as much care or concern. However, if your cat has developed something called pyometra, you should worry.
What is Pyometra?
To make this answer as simple as possible, pyometra is an infection that cats contract in the uterus. The illness affects only female cats, which means there is no need to worry if your cat is male. When your cat begins to suffer from this, it’s imperative that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. It is a life-threatening issue that can have serious effects on your cat and your family if not properly treated.
For the most part, any female cat is at risk for developing this illness. However, medical professionals have found that it typically affects older cats more than it does younger animals. Don’t get too comfortable, however, assuming your younger cat is not going to develop this health issue. It could very well happen.
How Does Pyometra Develop?
This illness develops as a type of secondary infection as a result of several other occurrences in the uterus. It’s not something that will happen to all female cats, but it is something that can happen. Essentially, when the cat’s body is prepping it for a possible pregnancy much the same way that a woman’s body does, a few things can happen that will cause this infection to occur. To explain this as simply as possible, the thickening of the uterus in preparation of pregnancy continues as your cat goes about her normal routine. If she does not get pregnant after several cycles, she could form cysts. These cysts, as well as the body’s preparation for pregnancy have a negative effect on white blood cells in the body that protect from infection. A fluid that makes bacteria very comfortable and easy to grow is secreted by this condition, and it’s possible that this infection can occur as a result. It’s not to say it will, but chances are good that it could happen to your cat.
What are the Signs and Symptoms?
Unfortunately, most cats with this issue are not diagnosed until it is well developed. This is because the signs and symptoms are very few and not very noticeable. One thing to look for in a cat that’s not spayed is discharge. This does not mean your cat is suffering from pyometra, but it could be an indicator that needs to be checked out immediately by your veterinarian. Another sign could be an excessive amount of water intake by your cat. If she is drinking too much water, you’ll notice. And when you do notice this, it’s important that you get the cat to the vet right away. You can also check your cat’s abdomen. If the abdomen seems painful or swollen, it could be that your cat is already suffering from pyometra. Add discharge of any kind to these symptoms and it’s almost certain that your cat is very sick. Get her to the vet right away. Also please note that these symptoms typically occur within 2 to 8 weeks after your cat is in ‘heat’.
What Will the Vet Do?
If it’s discovered that your cat does suffer from pyometra, your vet is going to want to perform surgery right away. The surgery is very similar to the surgery she would face if she were being spayed. In fact, it’s almost identical with the exception that the cysts and bacteria will need to be removed. If the cat is diagnosed very early in the illness, the surgery is less complicated. However, if your cat is not diagnosed until much later in its illness, the diagnosis will come with a much more invasive, more complicated surgery. The good news is that it can be treated and your cat’s life can be saved.
What Can I Do?
If your cat is suffering from pyometra, you can take her to the vet and allow the vet to remove the infection immediately. You can, however, also prevent the disease if you choose to have your cat spayed when you adopt or purchase it as a kitten. This can ensure that there is no chance your cat will ever develop the infection, which makes it much easier on all involved. The infection is not one that is contagious, so you need not worry about other animals in your home. However, you will have more to worry about if your cat is one you use to breed. This diagnosis will result in the inability to breed your cat in the future, which can be devastating for cat owners.
There is an alternative to surgery to treat this disease, but it’s more dangerous and there is no guarantee that it will work. However, it’s something breeders consider once talking to their vets. Your vet can help you make the decision whether or not your cat is a viable candidate for this option.
If you suspect your cat might suffer from a case of pyometra, go ahead and make an appointment at the vet as soon as possible. The only real diagnosis your cat needs is the one that comes from the vet. This will allow him or her to take immediate action that will save the life of your feline friend – which is what you want in the first place.
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