Can a cat still go into heat/bleed after she's been spayed?
My cat is about 4 years old. She's had 2 litters of kittens, but then we had her spayed after the kittens. So, it's been about 2 years since she's been spayed. Here's the strange part - for the past few day, she has blood around her vagina, like she's been menstruating. Is this possible, that she could still do that, 2 years after she was spayed? Is it possible for her to be going into heat, even though she's been spayed? I don't know what's wrong with her. Any advise or answers would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!!
Hi and welcome, No its not possible for you're kitty to go into heat 2 yrs after being spayed......the blood would indicate a vaginal infection or if bleeding from the urethra than a UTI and needs to be seen by a Vet and an antibiotic administered.....
hi scotty and welcome. this isn't very normal IMO, from what I have read..she could be displaying the signs of being in heat but not be able to become pregnant.
I will copy out the article, so you can speak to your Vet about this. please keep us posted...
7b. Ovarian remnants (incomplete feline spay) - the cat comes back into heat after spaying.
Occasionally, a cat who has been spayed will come back into season (heat) weeks to months (even up to 5 years later) after it has been desexed. This is, naturally, very perplexing and annoying for the owner (part of the reason why people get female cats desexed is to prevent them from displaying the more annoying signs of cat heat like calling and roaming) and often owners will question whether or not the surgery has been performed at all.
Well, the good news is, despite the in-heat symptoms, the cat probably has been desexed successfully and so can not fall pregnant (unless some major record-keeping mistake has been made and the cat is thought to have been spayed when it wasn't ...). The bad news is that the cat has probably had some of its ovarian tissue (a portion of ovary or ovarian-type tissue) left behind and the remaining ovarian follicles (called ovarian remnants) are now cycling and producing estrogen, which accounts for the cat showing signs of being in heat. This is not a huge problem for the cat (it won't get pregnant), however, the signs of heat (calling, roaming etc.) and the attraction of male cats into the yard will continue as long as the ovarian remnants remain and this can be tiresome for the cat-owner.
Cats with ovarian remnants should not be able to get pregnant because the ovarian tissue left behind is not in communication with a uterus. What the ovarian remnant cat can occasionally develop, however, is a condition called a stump pyometron: a bacterial infection of the small section of uterine body (uterine stump) that has been left behind after spay surgery. Pyometron is an infection of the uterus or uterine stump that most commonly develops under the hormonal influence of a cycling ovary or ovarian remnant (i.e. it results from the cycle of estrogen and progesterone release by the ovary). The infection that occurs can be life threatening. Animals without cycling ovarian tissue at all are very unlikely to suffer from the pyometra condition and so, for this reason, it is advisable that cats with symptoms suggestive of ovarian remnants (return to heat, calling etc) undergo work-up and surgery to remove the section/s of ovary left behind. This should prevent a 'stump pyo' from occurring.
Author's note: The presence of ovarian remnant syndrome does not always mean that the vet has performed the surgery incorrectly. Some cats are actually born with pockets of ovarian tissue that are located outside of the ovary body - typically further down the ovarian pedicle, but occasionally (very rarely) even elsewhere in the body (these are termed ectopic ovaries)! What happens in these cases is that the precursor stem cells that create the ovarian follicles in the embryo sometimes get lost during their migration to the ovary site and set up shop elsewhere in the body. In these cases, there is no way that the vet can know that a portion of ovarian tissue has been left behind, until the cat returns to heat after surgery.
Very rarely, some spayed cats can even exhibit a centrally-mediated (brain mediated) persistence of estrus signs and nymphomania. This is thought to be an adrenal gland mediated condition: an effect of the adrenal cortex converting body testosterones into estrogens.
Diagnosis of ovarian remnant syndrome:
There are several ways of diagnosing this condition and ruling out the differential diagnoses of estrogen-secreting neoplasia (cancer) and centrally-mediated nymphomania.
1) Vaginal cytology: The presence of large quantities of estrogen in the blood can be confirmed through vaginal cytology (swabbing and microscopically examining the cells of the cat's vagina whilst it is showing heat signs). In the presence of estrogen, these cell populations are very distinctive. Note, however, that all three of the conditions mentioned above should show vaginal cytology changes supportive of high estrogen levels, not just ovarian remnant syndrome, so cytology is not a useful differentiating test in this regard.
2) The heat symptoms: In all three of these conditions, the cat in question should show signs of coming into heat sometime after spaying. In the case of ovarian remnant syndrome, however, this heat activity should be observed to 'come and go' as the remnant ovarian follicles cycle through repeated stages of growth (the follicle grows - producing estrogen and signs of heat) and disintegration (the follicle ovulates, turns into a corpus luteum and makes progesterone instead without signs of heat): a cycle typical of the reproductive cycle of a normal entire female cat. In the case of estrogen-secreting tumours and centrally-mediated nymphomania, however, the symptoms of heat are generally more persistent and non-waning because the production of estrogen by these diseases is persistent.
3) Detection of ovulation and response to certain pituitary hormones: Because ovarian remnants are essentially normal ovarian tissue (just tissue that has been left behind), they should produce ovarian follicles that grow and ovulate normally (as described in point 2, above) and that respond to certain regulatory pituitary-derived hormones (e.g. GnRH, hCG, LH) in the normal way. Estrogen-secreting tumours, on the other hand, do not produce normal follicles that ovulate and nor do they respond to pituitary-derived hormones in the normal way. Consequently, proving that a cat's estrogen-secreting tissue is capable of ovulation and that it responds to pituitary hormones is another very good way of confirming the presence of ovarian remnants (as opposed to estrogen-secreting tumours and centrally-mediated nymphomania). This can be done in two ways:
Treatment of ovarian remnant syndrome:
The surgery to remove an ovarian remnant is almost identical to the surgery performed when a spay procedure is done, except that, in this case, there is no uterus to remove. The surgeon enters the animal's abdomen and investigates the regions just behind each of the cat's kidneys until the ovarian follicles are found and removed. If they can be found and removed, then all of the symptoms of heat and cycling should resolve for that cat.
The BEST time to perform corrective surgery on an ovarian remnant cat is when it is actively showing signs of being in-heat. At these times, the ovarian follicles should be large and easy for the vet to find.
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