Are there any tests that can be performed on my Queen, who is two, to check her fertility? She had a singleton, who died last March but nothing before and nothing since?

Sharon S.

Magnadolz Cattery

Manhattan Beach, CA

 

There are many tests available that a veterinarian could perform but it is difficult to know which ones apply to your situation. The first question to answer, is the Queen showing obvious signs of estrus? If she is vocalizing and demonstrating changes in posture that is an indicator she is in estrus.  If not, then you need to determine if indeed she is cycling. Felines are usually thought of as induced ovulators, meaning they need for the Tom to be present. In about 30% of Queens spontaneous ovulation occurs without the Tom present so we would need to take that situation into account. Next you need to determine how many times she mated with the Tom to produce a singleton.  The number of follicles she has produced is related to the number of matings. If she only bred once it would be common for her to produce zero or a small number of follicles to fertilize. If she bred three to four times than the number of follicles available would be greater.

The Queen’s temperament and behavior also have to be taken into account. If she is shy or intimidated by the Tom than artificial insemination may be the only viable solution.  Be open to the fact the problem could lie within the Tom too. All things considered, what is our minimum data base for her?  Work with your veterinarian to start a routine blood panel to rule out underlying problems first.  That would also include tests to make sure she is negative for the common viral diseases of cats. Vaginal cytology in the feline will tell if she is in heat versus out of heat but won’t tell us what stage of the cycle she is in. A vaginal exam would be in order if she did indeed mate multiple times with the Tom. An ultrasound exam in experienced hands could be of help in determining follicle size and following their development. And making sure she is bred multiple times to ensure the maximum number of follicles are inseminated.  Hopefully there is no repeat of having a singleton that dies but if there is make sure the kitten and placenta are tested at a veterinary lab. This will help uncover any genetic abnormalities that may be present.

Hormonal testing is another option you could ask your veterinarian about but this is not typically the first place you start.  Fertility problems in Queens can be difficult to trace but I hope I’ve given you some parameters to consider.