Pyometra means a permanent inflammation in the uterus, caused by the uterine lining not being able to keep the surrounding bacteria away. When the bacteria take root in the uterus, it becomes inflamed and it is formed everywhere.
The hormone progesterone, which is found in cats’ birth control pills, increases the risk of pyometra. This is an important reason why it is always better to neuter the cat than to give birth control pills, if she is not intended for breeding.
The most common symptom of pyometra is that the cat has discharge, which can be profuse and foul-smelling. If the cervix is closed, the wart does not come out, and then the symptoms become more diffuse.
The cat becomes lethargic, may have a fever, may not want to eat and may have a stomach ache. If the condition is not treated, the uterus can become so full of it that it ruptures and the product is emptied into the cat’s abdomen, which can be life – threatening if the cat does not receive care quickly.
When the cat has abundant discharge, the diagnosis is usually simple. Sometimes it is necessary to examine the size and contents of the uterus with the help of ultrasound or X-rays before starting treatment. If the cat has more diffuse symptoms, several samples and examinations may be needed for a definite diagnosis.
The best treatment is surgery, in which the uterus and ovaries are removed. The cat is thus neutered and no longer runs.
If the cat has not had time to be so affected by its disease, this is a fairly simple procedure with an excellent prognosis.
If the cat is very ill, a little longer hospital care may be required and the prognosis becomes more uncertain.
Pyometra can also be treated medically. This is primarily an alternative for young breeding cats where it is judged that the cat is important for breeding. Medical treatment is almost always more expensive and complicated than surgery and is given in the form of hormone injections and antibiotics, at the same time as the development of the uterus needs to be monitored with repeated ultrasound examinations. In many cases, medical treatment can have a good effect, and the female can get a litter of kittens after the treatment.
Cats show less tendency to relapse than dogs, however, it is recommended that the female be neutered as soon as she has the litters she wants.