Misty is a 7 year old Doberman bitch who presented to us with a history of excessive drinking (polydypsia). She was otherwise very well in herself. One of our vets checked her over and found her to have a high temperature despite this Misty appeared in good health with no further abnormalities detected. Due to the vague and very few clinical signs shown by Misty the list of potential causes was long.
The vet advised for some investigation in order to help narrow down the potential causes. This started with some bloods.
Blood interpretation showed some good and bad news for Misty. On the good side all her organs were working as they should be, most importantly her kidneys. However it showed she had very high white blood cells (WBC). As a result of this assessment of Misty’s bloods the vet was able to rule out a lot of possible causes. The very high WBC’s indicated Misty most likely had a significant infection causing her polydypsia.
Misty, as mentioned above, is an entire bitch and a concern at this point was that Misty had a Pyometra. This is a life threatening condition where the uterus becomes infected, filling the uterus with purulent material. In most cases a Pyometra is ‘open’, this is when the cervix is slightly open, these are much easier to diagnose as the bitch presents with a purulent, creamy discharge from the bitches vulva. However Misty had a ‘closed’ Pyometra, where the purulent material produced is trapped within the uterus, this is much more serious and means the uterus is constantly expanding with the ever increasing production of purulent material.
Misty’s owners were then called and asked if they could please bring Misty back in to have a quick ultrasound scan which could confirm or rule out this concerning possibility. A quick scan revealed that Misty had indeed got a Pyometra. In order to treat her Misty required a life saving hysterectomy to remove her engorged uterus. She was immediately placed on fluids, prepped and taken to theatre where she underwent surgery.
There was a significant difference in the size of Misty’s uterus and that of another dog of similar.
Misty’s surgery went very well and was soon in recovery being closely monitored by our dedicated team of nurses. She recovered really well but due to being a little pale after surgery and still pretty sleepy by the evening spent the night with our out of hours practice who discharged her the following day.
Misty is now back to her normal bouncy self having made a full recovery.
Although we were pleased to present Misty as a successful story, it is important to remember that Misty’s condition was life threatening and not all dogs make it. A Pyometra is easily prevented by simply speying your female dog. The surgery during a routine spey holds much less risk for your pet. This is due to them being healthy at the time of surgery, the uterus is much smaller (see pictures), the blood vessels associated are much smaller and there is no infection present.
For more information on the above, please see our fact sheets on Pyometra (under general diseases) and Neutering on our Pet Advice page.