Pyometra

What is Pyometra?

Pyometra is an infection of the uterus and is a common condition in female dogs that have not been neutered. It is more commonly found in older females but can present in younger dogs also. Cats can also develop a pyometra but is not as common as in dogs.

Why does pyometra develop?

Female dogs have a season approximately every 6 months, and during this period she will have all the hormonal changes associated with normal pregnancy. This occurs regardless if she is pregnant or not. The risk of pyometra developing becomes greater with each season that your bitch has. Pyometra tends to develop anywhere from 4-12 weeks post season. Certain injections used to stop a season or prevent an unwanted pregnancy can also increase the risk of pyometra developing.

What are the signs of pyometra?

  • Licking at vulva/back end

  • Lethargic

  • Increased drinking

  • Reduced appetite

  • Discharge from vulva – yellow/brown creamy discharge

  • Vomiting

  • Collapse

If any of these signs are present please make sure to contact your veterinary practice to make an appointment to have your dog assessed. A dog with pyometra will continue to deteriorate if left untreated.

Diagnosis

Your vet will take a full history and give your pet a full clinical examination. An abdominal ultrasound will be recommended to confirm a pyometra. Bloods tests will also be advised which will not only provide information on the presence of infection but will also provide essential information regarding over all health – including kidney and liver function. The combination of a clinical examination and blood tests will allow the vet to judge if your dog is a suitable candidate for surgery.

Treatment

The treatment of choice is surgery to remove the infected uterus. If the uterus is not removed the infection will get worse and your pet will deteriorate further. During surgery your pet will have intravenous fluid therapy, pain relief and antibiotics. This surgery is essentially the same as a routine spey, however it carries much higher risk of complications – these will be discussed at the time of surgery.

Prognosis and Prevention

Prognosis depends on how ill your pet is on presentation. If presented and treated early most dogs will make a full recovery from a pyometra. Speying your dog is the only way to prevent pyometra from occurring.

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