Hope After Pyo
BY LIZ WARD, Huggibear

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Liz Ward of Huddersfield, England, in the heart of Yorkshire, has been breeding Burmese and Asians under the Huggibear cattery name since 1993.

Her current breeding aims are strongly connected with outcrossing to broaden the gene pool in Burmese and to help develop Cinnamon in the Asians.  Her cats are registered with Felis Britannica and GCCF (Governing Council of the Cat Fancy).

In 2012, I imported a female American Contemporary Burmese from Karen Thomas of Panthat cattery, Atlanta, Georgia. The kitty's registered name is Panthat Save the Last Dance. I call her Dancer.

Dancer was born on May 10th, 2012. After making arrangements to import her to the United Kingdom, I traveled to Paris in February, 2013 to meet Dancer at the French airport and bring her home with me.

The First Mating

Dancer settled in quickly and I couldn't have been happier with my new girl. She came into her first heat when she was 12 months old and was bred.

Panthat Save the Last Dance . . . aka Dancer

Three weeks after being bred her nipples pinked up indicating she was pregnant. All seemed to be going well with her pregnancy until at five weeks I noticed a vaginal discharge. It quickly became clear that she had developed pyometra. As you can imagine it was a major disappointment when it looked as if I wasn't going to have kittens from my imported girl.


I immediately took Dancer to my veterinarian. My vet put her on the antibiotic Convenia but it seemed to have no effect — the discharge continued. At that point I asked about treating her with Alizin. Alizin is a drug used to terminate pregnancies in dogs up to 45 days after mating. It is an injectable solution that contains the progesterone antagonist, aglepristone.  The drug acts to clean out the uterus.

The use of Alizin is off label for cats but I knew it had been used by other cat breeders to treat pyo with good success. My veterinarian agreed to try it as long as I signed a disclaimer.

Dancer was given a subcutaneous injection dosed at 10 mg/kg given subcutaneously. It was repeated at day 2 and 7. She continued treatment with the broad spectrum antibiotic. Dancer exhibited no side effects from the Alizin injections and was never sick at any time during her pyo or treatment.

A Second Pyo

The Alizin worked quickly — the discharge stopped. When Dancer came into heat two months later she was bred again, this time to a different boy. Her nipples pinked up but five weeks after mating she developed pyometra again.  My veterinarian started her on the broad spectrum antibiotic combination of Convenia plus Synulox along with Alizin.

Dancer's First Litter

Bred to yet a different stud cat next time she came into season, Dancer gave birth 9 weeks later to a large litter of eight kittens. Unfortunately, 5 kittens faded and died within the first few days. The three remaining kittens thrived.

Dancer seemed more interested in the slightly older babies of another queen rather than attending to her own newborns. A more experienced queen who had given birth to her kittens at the same time as Dancer fostered Dancer's three surviving babies. 

Dancer's three surviving babies along with a she-sibling of their foster mum's. . .

Final Thoughts

I suspect that the kittens that Dancer lost may have had a G. Strep infection, which may in turn have been a contributing factor to her developing pyo in the first place.

What I learned from this experience is that just because your queen develops pyometra, it does not mean that she can't still have a successful pregnancy and produce live kittens. You do need to give the appropriate treatment and don't give up if it doesn't work the first time as it may need to be repeated.

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