Most pregnancies and deliveries go smoothly, but as a caring pet owner you should be prepared for the unexpected. Here's what you should know about common pregnancy complications.
Pyometra is defined as an infection in the uterus. Pyometra is considered a serious and life threatening condition that must be treated quickly and aggressively. Pyometra may occur in any sexually intact young to middle-aged cat; however, it is most common in older cats. Typically, the cat has been in heat within the previous 4 weeks.
Most cats care for their kittens with little need for human intervention; however, if they do not, then their caregivers will need to step in. Maintaining a warm environment and ensuring they are receiving enough milk is critical to survival. Weights should be checked daily in the first 2 weeks and any prolonged crying should be investigated thoroughly. Feeding can be supplemented with commercial milk replacer if needed and all kittens can start the weaning process around 4 weeks of age by offering gruel-like kitten food mixed with milk replacer. Rarely milk fever or eclampsia can affect the mother causing spasms and panting around the weaning time and must be addressed by a veterinarian immediately. Kitten diets that have been trialed for growth are recommended. Kittens normally receive temporary immunity through the placenta while in utero and by ingesting their mother’s milk in their first day of life. This immunity starts to fade around 6 weeks of age and vaccination is recommended at that time. Worms are a common affliction in kittens and regular deworming is recommended starting at 2 weeks old. Contact your veterinarian for specific instructions. Commercial over the counter dewormers can be harmful to young kittens.