Post Natal Complications in Cats

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Postpartum complications in cats

Postnatal complications can arise in any cat and it is prudent that the cat owner is aware of potential problems and know what to look out for after your cat has given birth.  Be alert and watch for symptoms so that problems can be picked up and treated early.

Postpartum hemorrhage:

Some discharge (lochia) is normal for up to two weeks after delivery, which will be watery and blood tinged.

Symptoms: 

  • Excessive bleeding after giving birth
  • Pale gums
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite

Mastitis

Inflammation of one or more mammary glands occurs when the lactating queen’s mammary gland(s) becomes inflamed, blocked or infected.

Symptoms:

  • Heat
  • Swelling
  • Fever
  • Bloody, yellow or thick milk
  • Refusal to let the kittens nurse from the affected gland(s)
  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Lethargy
  • Sick or dying kittens

Acute Metritis

Inflammation of the lining of the uterus (endometrium) postpartum most often due to a bacterial infection from retained placentas, kittens or unsanitary conditions.

Symptoms:

  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Foul smelling, dark discharge from the vagina

Agalactia and dysgalactia

Agalactia is a complete absence of milk and dysgalactia is a decreased milk supply. Both are caused by inadequate nutritional support of the queen,  large litter size, deformed nipple(s) or occasionally cesarean sections.

Encourage nursing to assist with milk production.  Provide access to fresh drinking water at all times and a high-quality diet. By the second week of lactation, she will require up to three times the amount of calories as a non-pregnant cat. Kittens may cry and fail to thrive. Your veterinarian may recommend you supplement the litter or he may prescribe a medication to assist with milk production or both.

Symptoms: 

  • Restless kittens who cry continually
  • Kittens fail to thrive

Eclampsia

Also known as milk fever or puerperal tetany, eclampsia is a life-threatening condition which occurs in late pregnancy or after birth as a result of blood calcium levels becoming dangerously depleted, leading to hypocalcemia.

  • Restlessness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Walking with a stiff gait
  • Fever
  • Increased respiration rate
  • Tremors
  • Convulsions

Treatment:

Treatment will depend on the cause, it may include:

  • Blood transfusions for postpartum hemorrhage, the veterinarian may also spay (ovariohysterectomy) the cat to stop further bleeding.
  • Antibiotics to treat bacterial infections associated with acute metritis and mastitis.
  • Draining and lancing of abscesses.
  • Removal of retained products if your queen has acute metritis, a spay may be necessary.
  • Supplementation of milk to kittens who are not receiving enough milk due to low/no supply from the queen. Medications to assist with milk production may be given.
  • Slow intravenous administration of calcium gluconate in the case of eclampsia.
  • Supportive care including rest, intravenous fluids, nutritional support, and antibiotics.