Tracy Korb’s cat, Padgie, was usually a sweet, affectionate pet. But every few weeks, she would seem to go crazy, running around the house and screeching at night. Korb and her husband began turning off all lights at night, playing with Padgie for a long time before bed, feeding her calming treats, and spraying feline pheromones in the house. Nothing seemed to help.
“We tried everything,” Korb said. “I was sleep deprived.”
Because Padgie had been spayed, Korb was shocked when her veterinarian suggested the cause of the behavior issues might be ovarian remnant syndrome (ORS). ORS occurs when all or part of an ovary is left inside the body following an ovariohysterectomy, or spay, in which the uterus and ovaries are surgically removed to prevent pregnancy.
When the ovarian remnant starts producing estrogen, it causes outward signs of a heat cycle in cats and dogs, according to Melissa Goodman, DVM, owner of Veterinary Reproductive Services and veterinarian with Pennsylvania Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Associates at AAHA-accredited Hickory Veterinary Hospital in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania.
“It does not take much ovarian tissue to produce hormones,” Goodman said. “It can...