causes, symptoms, treatment and prevention

causes, symptoms, treatment and prevention

Metritis is a disease characterized by inflammation of the walls of the cat's uterus. In the majority of cases, metritis causes pyometra, a pathology with which it is often confused and which is manifested by the presence and accumulation of pus in the female's uterus. The pyometra can be with an open neck, thus releasing some secretions, or with a closed neck, therefore invisible. In all cases, it is a vital emergency which requires rapid attention by a veterinarian.

To help you identify it effectively, discover the causes of this disease, the clinical signs to observe, the possible treatments and the solution to put in place to prevent risks.

What is metritis in cats? What are the causes ?

First of all, it seems important to us to specify that the metritisoften confused with pyometra, is a very different disease. However, the treatment of these conditions and the symptoms observed are identical. Likewise, these pathologies only concern non-sterilized females, because they affect the uterus, an organ that male cats and operated cats do not have.

There metritis – or endometritis – is a bacterial infection of the endometrium, that is to say from the internal wall of the uterus. It generally causes pyometra, which is why it is considered the disease and pyometra the symptom.

THE pyometrafor its part, is characterized by a accumulation of pus in the cat's uterus. It is a medical emergency that must be treated quickly to avoid causing the death of the animal. There are two forms, which are as follows:

  • Open neck pyometra : In this case, the female's cervix is ​​open, allowing the pus present to flow out of the uterus. It is therefore a less serious form of pyometra and one which is quickly visible.
  • Closed neck pyometra : it is more serious, because the pus accumulates in the uterus of the female without being able to be evacuated, the cervix being closed. If the cat is not quickly treated, the infection can become complicated and lead to peritonitis (inflammation of the internal covering of the abdomen) or septicemia (inflammation of the blood), serious and fatal disorders. . However, since the cervix is ​​closed, the infection is much less visible.

Pyometra is a common infection which occurs in unsterilized cats aged, in the majority of cases, over 6 years old and which most often manifests itself in the three to eight weeks following the heat.

What causes metritis in cats?

The development of metritis and pyometra can have several origins, but the main cause is the increase in heat, which is why the latter develops in the weeks following such a period. For what ? Because heat changes the level of sex hormones (estrogen and progesterone), which leads to thickening of the endometrium. A mixture of secretions and phlegm accumulates naturally, but it remains stagnant, which increases the risk of developing a bacterial infection, because the cat's immune defenses drop at the end of heat periods. These bacteria are most oftenEscherichia coliwhich lives in the digestive tract, staphylococci and streptococci.

Unsterilized cats placed on contraception (notably progestagen injections) are at greater risk of developing pyometra, because these products tend to promote inflammation.

Metritis can also occur following mating, abortion, parturition or retained placenta, i.e. when the placenta is not fully expelled after birth. kittens.

These infections can also be triggered when the uterus closes at the end of heat. Bacteria that got inside when it was opened are trapped and grow, promoting infections. In addition, some cats have a long uterus that does not empty completely at the end of heat. However, if liquid accumulates, it remains blocked and bacteria develop there.

What are the symptoms of metritis in cats?

A female who suffers from metritis may present with the following symptoms:

  • loss of appetite;
  • weight loss;
  • intense thirst;
  • frequent urination (urinating);
  • significant fatigue;
  • changed behavior, more distant or, conversely, attention-seeking;
  • sometimes fever;
  • a swollen, distended stomach.

In case of open neck pyometra, a discharge of whitish or yellowish liquid (pus) is visible at the level of the vulva of the animal and sometimes at the level of the hindquarters and the inside of the thighs. These discharges may be tinged with blood and they generally give off a bad odor. The cat can be licked often to eliminate secretions.

In case of closed neck pyometra, it is common for the cat to suffer from vomiting and/or diarrhea, or even fever. The little female may lie prostrate, bothered by pain. The situation is serious, it is essential to consult the veterinarian very quickly. The animal becomes dehydrated very quickly, she risks shock, coma and then death in the event of a complication such as peritonitis or septicemia.

What treatment for metritis in cats?

There metritis is primarily an internal inflammation. To diagnose it, the practitioner uses the symptoms observed and his medical history. He may also order additional tests such as a blood test and an abdominal ultrasound.

THE diagnosis of pyometra is easier when it is open-necked, because the discharge of pus is visible. If closed cervix pyometra is suspected, the veterinarian may perform blood tests and an abdominal ultrasound or X-ray.

Once metritis is confirmed, the veterinarian will be able to implement appropriate treatment. It is important to act quickly, because metritis and pyometra are serious conditions that can have fatal consequences for the animal.

In all cases, the cat is generally placed on an intravenous drip to be rehydrated.

Treatment for closed neck pyometra

In cases of closed neck pyometra, it is generally recommended to perform a hystero-oophorectomy, a surgical operation which involves removing the cat's ovaries and uterus urgently. The female is thus sterilized under general anesthesia then placed under treatment antibiotic before being rehydrated.

Although zero risk does not exist, the operation is generally very well tolerated and allows for complete and rapid healing, with no possible recurrence. On the other hand, antibiotic treatment alone is not enough. In 100% of cases, cats have a recurrence during their life and, in 7 out of 10 cases, from the next heat.

The cat generally recovers from her operation after 48 hours of rest. It remains imperative to monitor the proper healing of the wound for the following six days. If the stitches are not absorbable, they must be removed by the veterinarian approximately 10 days after the procedure. Otherwise, they resolve on their own in three to four weeks.

Treatment for metritis and/or open neck pyometra

In the event of open cervix pyometra or when the cat cannot be operated on (by refusal of the breeder or in the event of a high risk of general anesthesia), the veterinarian places the small animal under a antibiotic treatment broad spectrum to fight against the bacterial infection in question. It also sets up a fluid therapybased on oxytocin which helps empty the female's uterus by stimulating uterine contractions.

At the same time, to avoid the risk of spreading the infection, the female's vulva must be cleaned with a antiseptic soft suitable for cats.

Can we prevent the risk of metritis in cats?

Yes, it is possible to prevent the risk of metritis in cats. How ? Quite simply by practicing sterilization of the cat. This procedure can take the form of an oophorectomy, which consists of removing only the ovaries of the female. This is enough to avoid metritis as a general rule. The other form is ovariohysterectomy, which involves removing the cat's ovaries and uterus.

This type of operation is very common, but also very controversial. However, you should know that it has benefits for the animal's health, in addition to helping to regulate births. In fact, the procedure soothes the cat who is no longer irritated by hormonal disturbances linked to heat. It is also less subject to the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and the risk of cancers of the uterus, ovaries and mammary chain.

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