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I read that it's common for unspayed female cats to get pyometra. I thought maybe that's because people don't allow their cats to mate when in heat, which causes the illness. But if I allow my cat to mate, will she still be at the risk of developing pyometra? Why would chances of having it decrease or increase as a result of mating?

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    Spay your cat. There are hundreds of thousands of kittens who already need homes. Why would you want to add more to the adoption pool by purposely creating another litter of unwanted kittens? Your cat isn't missing out on the "joys of motherhood" by being spayed, and you'd be doing her a colossal favor by ruling out not only pyometra, but also cervical, uterine and ovarian cancers. Go talk to your veterinarian: most are very pro-sterilization. Hopefully, they can talk you into okaying the procedure.
    – sleddog
    Jun 28 '17 at 13:17
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Yes, pyometras can happen after insemination, after copulation, after a heat cycle, after administrating estrogens and after parturition. It happens from progesterone lasting longer than usual in the uterus, it can even happen after a spay! There is always some sort of stump left from the uterus where the infection can make way.

It's more common in dogs than cats as cats need to be sexually stimulated in order to ovulate thus releasing progesterone, however she doesn't need stimulation to have a pyo.

Pyometras are most common in middle-age to senior pets, complications in hormone balance increase as they age. though it does on occasion happen in young cats and dogs.

Clinical signs of a pyometra are:

  • Lethargy, non-responsive.
  • Not want to eat or drink.
  • White or dark bloody discharge from vulva.
  • Swollen abdomen

Pyometras are an EMERGENCY and need to be corrected immediately - this is done by spaying the animal and being placed on antibiotics.

Here's a good article on the subject from the Merck Manual. Fee free to ask questions if any words confuse you, medical journals always use fancy words.

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