Ovarian Remnant Syndrome - Is Your Cat Really Spayed?!

Why is your cat crying, yowling and rolling around on the ground?

Could it be that, despite being spayed, they still have a bit of ovary present?

Here’s what you need to know about ovarian remnant syndrome!

ovarian remnant syndrome in cats - is she spayed or not?

HELP PLEASE. I have already spayed my queen but she still meows and it continues for 7 to 8 days after which stops for 7 to 10 days and again her meowing starts. Please help me with this issue. - Debolina

To me, this sounds very much like this is a female cat who is calling like she’s on heat. She's really looking to attract a mate!

An Entire Female

This can happen in a “spayed cat” if the cat in questions has actually not been spayed in the first place. It might be that the cat has actually been re-homed with an incorrect understanding that the operation has been carried out.

We might think of them as a spayed cat but actually they're still very much entire.

Ovarian Remnant Syndrome in Cats

If an animal is known to have been spayed with 100% certainty, this issue of calling can still happen if a piece of ovary has been left behind during the surgery. Only a really tiny amount needs to be left for a cat to develop this problem. What happens is the remaining bit of ovary grows bigger, remains active, and results in a condition called ovarian remnant syndrome.


There are a number of different ways that we can go about trying to diagnose ovarian remnant syndrome in cats. In a cat showing the classic signs of being on heat at the right time of year (spring and summer) means there’s going to be a really high index of suspicion.

Depending on the history, it might be that these symptoms are all that's needed to go and explore the abdomen to find and remove the offending piece of ovary.

We can also do a hormonal blood test to confirm that a piece of ovary left behind is the problem. It’s not always 100% reliable and there are other tests as well. These include vaginal cytology, looking as a smear under the microscope. We can potentially look with an ultrasound, although that can be quite challenging. There are also more complicated blood tests that we can do. These involve giving an injection and measuring a response a week or so later. The problem here is that the drug we inject a cat with is not necessarily going to be available to your vet.

Increased Crying and Yowling

You also need to consider other conditions that can cause this increased vocalization. It could be stress, it could be pain, it could be senility. These are conditions that an examination and a good history will help your vet come up with the right options going forward.

Exploratory Surgery

If ovarian remnant syndrome is confirmed with tests, or if there's no other problem that can be found and it's really suspected to be the cause, then exploratory surgery is needed. This will find and remove the piece of ovary previously left behind. There is no other effective long-term treatment.

Clearly a cat's not going to be able to get pregnant because the rest of their reproductive tract is going to have already been removed. They are still going to get the behavioral problems that can be associated with entire cats. Your cat is still going to be attracting other males into your garden. They are more likely to get into fights, and are also going to have higher stress levels as well.

So we want to be removing the offending little piece of ovary.

Also finally just to say this is really a very uncommon complication of spaying. If possible, I'd suggest talk to the original operating vet clinic about this because they may be willing to do the follow-up testing and surgery free of charge. I can’t promise this but it’s a conversation worth having.

The above is a transcript taken from “The Dr Alex Answers Show”.

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