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Ovarian remnant

Species: Cat
Breed: crossbreed
Age: 5-8 years
Hi,

We have a spayed cat that has been showing signs of being on heat on and off for the last 3 months. We brought her to our veterinary clinic and the vet performed an Hcg stimulation test (they used Chorulon) to check for ovarian remants.

My question has to do with whether or not the cat needs to be showing heat symptoms at the time the test is done for it to work?....-I ask this because we were reading about this test online and most websites say the test should be performed while the cat is showing estrus symtpoms? However, our cat was no longer showing any signs of being on heat by the time they ran the test and she hadn't done so for at least a week prior. The vets also didn't ask about how long it had been since her last heat episode?

....Our vet did say she had never dealt with ovarian remnants in cats before and she had to look up what test to use in a manual....We also did get back in touch with them before the test was run just to check that it was okay to do it when our cat wasn't in heat: we were only able to get through to a nurse and she just reassured us that the test would induce ovulation which would help test for the ovarian remnants...

I hate second guessing vets because I know they are the experts and I am not! But, just because of the contradictory info on the internet and also our own vet's admitted inexperience, I am concerned...

Do you have any idea about any this? Does the HcG stimulation need to be run while the cat is in heat or is it okay to perform the test anytime? And if it does need to be performed while the cat is in heat, what would this mean for our results, considering our cat was not in heat when the test was performed?


Many MANY (!) thanks for your help- we feel awkard asking our vets about it again considering we've asked them about it already!

Jenny


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thanks for a great question Jenny!

We don't see ovarian remnant syndrome often in cats, but it can definitely happen.

As you likely know, ovarian remnant syndrome happens when there is still some ovarian tissue inside of a spayed cat. Usually when we do a cat spay it is super obvious where the ovary is and extremely unlikely for some to be left behind. However, there are some cats that can have extra ovarian tissue hanging around inside the abdomen, or it is in theory possible for a vet to think they have removed the ovary, but actually left some inside.

There are several different ways to test for ovarian remnant syndrome. To do HCG stimulation a cat does indeed have to be showing heat signs first. The point of the test is to take an ovary that is active (this happens when a cat is in heat) and cause it to produce follicles. The HCG works on that active ovary and then a week later we can do a blood test to measure progesterone levels. If the progesterone levels are high then this means that there is functioning ovary tissue present and then surgery has to be done to find and remove that piece of ovary.

There are other ways to look for an ovarian remnant. What I usually do, is have the owner bring the cat in when she is exhibiting signs of heat and then I do a vaginal cytology. We do this by rubbing a swab inside of the vagina and making a smear to look at under the microscope. If a cat is truly in heat then we will see certain changes on the slide. (If you're not used to doing this, it can be hard to determine whether the slide indicates a heat, so some vets will send the slide to a pathologist to find out for sure.) If she is truly in heat then this means there is ovary present and surgery is needed.

Another way to test for an ovarian remnant is to measure levels of LH (lutenizing hormone). But, this test is not as reliable as the hcg stimulation test.

It's not a bad idea to ask to speak to your vet personally about the issue of doing the test when Muffin was in heat. It's possible that your vet has some new information that I don't have. But, given that this is their first time doing the test, it's also possible that it was an honest mistake.

I hope you get some answers soon!

Dr. Marie


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Thanks so much for your hugely detailed reply! It really helps because we just weren't sure if what we were reading on the internet was right or wrong and so didn't know whether to bring it up again to the clinic or not....

....We will definitely check in with our vet personally to ask/go over it all. We like her and I'm sure she will appreciate the information and be very responsive.

Thanks HEAPS!



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.