Spontaneous Abortion, Pregnancy Loss in Cats
It is not uncommon for cats to experience spontaneous abortions (miscarriages). A variety of medical reasons can cause this reaction. The cat should be evaluated immediately after a miscarriage to make certain more serious underlying health conditions do not exist.
Symptoms and Types
If a cat has experienced a miscarriage, the most common thing an owner notices is abnormal and extended vaginal bleeding. There may also be an abnormal amount of discharge. An expelled fetus may be found, especially if the cat was in the late trimester.
The most common cause of a lost pregnancy is fetal death due to a hormonal imbalance. Some other causes include:
- Mycotic Abortion – This fungus most commonly causes excessive bleeding in the uterus and can lead to an aborted fetus.
- Fetal Death – If the cat has a hormonal imbalance it can lead to the fetus' death, either causing stillbirth or miscarriage. Fetal deaths may also be related to genetic disorders of the fetus itself, causing the pregnancy to be terminated.
- Neospora Caninum – This parasite, while found in cats, is more common in dogs. It is usually picked up when a cat eats food or drinks water shared with a contaminated dog.
A standard blood test is used to detect the presence of parasites or other medical conditions in the cat. A health care professional can use an ultrasound to detect a viable pregnancy, or to look for anything remaining in the cat's uterus following a miscarriage. Occasionally, the cat’s uterus will be unable to expel all of the pregnancy matter effectively on its own (e.g., placental tissue), leading to infection or internal hemorrhaging.
For cats that have experienced a spontaneous abortion due to bacteria or parasite, a veterinarian will diagnose the condition and offer a variety of options for medical treatment. In addition, the cat should be carefully monitored for signs of a more serious medical condition.
Living and Management
Following a spontaneous abortion, there can be a great deal of discomfort and/or some vaginal bleeding or abnormal discharge. In many cases, some long-term bacterial issues arise. Pet owners should carefully observe the behavior of their cat to ensure no serious problems develop.