FELINE POSTPARTUM PERIOD
The Normal Postpartum Period
of the uterus is accompanied by the discharge of lochia from the vulva
for up to three weeks.
Normally, the discharge is nonodorous and red to black in
The queen should show no signs of fever, depression or
anorexia if involution is normal.
Should the discharge persist and/or the queen appear ill,
metritis, rupture/torsion of the uterus or mastitis should be considered
Kittens should gain weight and double their weight in the
first two weeks.
Return to Estrus
Return to estrus is reported to be inhibited by
lactation and results in an anestrus period lasting 2 to 8 weeks
postweaning, but clinically it is not uncommon to find queens 2-4
weeks pregnant when performing ovariohysterectomies shortly after
a normal weaning.
To avoid lactational anestrus, early weaning at 3
days postpartum can hasten the onset of estrus to around 7 days
Abortion without an ensuing lactation also
results in a return to estrus within around 7 days.
Abnormal Events of the
- Retained placentas
- May not be a problem unless they result in secondary metritis, but
secondary metritis is an infrequent sequel to retained placentas.
Unless the queen shows signs of metritis, retained placentas need
not be a cause for immediate concern.
- Postparturient metritis
- Although not common, is seen as early as one day to as late as ten
- It is most commonly seen in queens experiencing
dystocia, but it can occur in any postpartum queen.
suffering from this condition generally show depression, pyrexia,
anorexia and a vulvar discharge.
- The kittens may also become sick
secondary to the metritis.
- Diagnosis of postparturient metritis is
based upon clinical signs, leukocytosis and vaginal discharge.
Therapy should include the administration of supportive fluids and
systemic antibiotics based on culture results.
- Prostaglandins have
been reported to be effective in successfully treating
- Ovariohysterectomy may be advised for
queens with refractory cases.
- Uterine prolapse
been described in the postparturient queen.
- Manual reduction under
general anesthesia (in conjunction with laparotomy when needed) is
- Ovariohysterectomy is indicated in cases of
severe uterine damage.
- Fertility after treatment of uterine
prolapse is not reported.
seen during the postparturient period.
- The clinical signs include
swollen, painful mammary glands that cause the queen to show
discomfort when nursing, anorexia, pyrexia and depression.
mortality from ingestion of septic milk may also be an early
indicator of mastitis.
- The most common organisms isolated from
mastitis are Streptococci sp.,
Staphylococci sp. and
Treatment should include supportive care of the queen along with
the administration of broad spectrum antibiotics until a specific
organism can be isolated.
- Gangrenous mastitis is best treated with
hot packs followed by lancing, debriding and draining the affected
gland(s) if needed.
- If kitten mortality occurs, the kittens should
be removed from the queen and raised as orphans or placed on
another queen if feasible.