Abortion is the loss of developing kittens from the womb before pregnancy has finished. It can occur at any stage of the pregnancy and has a variety of causes, including trauma, infections, and abnormalities in the reproductive system of the female cat.The abortion may go unnoticed, or else the female cat may be noticeably ill beforehand. UrgencyAny illness occurring in a pregnant female should be attended to promptly as abortion is always a potential risk. Once abortion has occurred, the cat should definitely receive a veterinary examination to ensure that further complications are not present.
First Aid & Nursing
Only general supportive care is relevant. Keep the cat warm, quiet and offer tempting food until the veterinary appointment.
- Cats ill after abortion may require some on-going treatment for problems such as infection, high temperature and dehydration. A hospital stay may be needed.
- If future breeding is intended, the cause of abortion may need to be investigated. This could entail blood tests (for internal problems, virus infections, etc.), X-rays and ultrasound examinations. Quite extensive investigation may be required, and sometimes a cause cannot always be determined.
- Note that most pet cats are neutered (spayed) at a young age and so do not become pregnant and therefore cannot suffer from abortion in the first place.
An abscess is a painful swelling caused by infection, usually occurring underneath the skin. They are common in cats, and are often found around the head area, legs or the hindquarters. Penetrating wounds (e.g. bites, sharp injuries from wire, etc.) often cause abscesses as they act like an injection of harmful bacteria. Bites are by far the commonest cause in cats and fighting male cats are especially prone to them. The incidence is much higher in male cats that have not been castrated (neutered).
Another cause of a persistent abscess could be a ‘foreign body’ embedded underneath the skin. Air rifle pellets, tooth fragments (from bites), splinters or thorns may all act as a persistent source of irritation and infection, leading to constant inflammation and discharge from a wound. Abscesses usually take several days to develop, during which time the cat may be subdued, irritable or in pain. Cats may have a high temperature and no appetite. The affected area may be tender and inflamed, gradually swelling in size with discoloured and abnormally textured skin on the surface. Usually the hair is thinned or lost but sometimes the only sign is extreme sensitivity over the area where the abscess is developing.
Most abscesses near the surface eventually rupture, discharging foul-smelling yellowish fluid (pus). Rupture, though thoroughly unpleasant and messy, usually improves the symptoms considerably and the cat will be in much less discomfort.Other sites for abscesses are in the mouth, throat, between the toes and (less commonly) in internal organs, where they are very serious.