Pyometra in dogs. 

Following on from our previous Holidays4Dogs article about the behaviour of bitches in season, we look this time at the condition affecting female dogs called Pyometra.

This is considered to be a rather nasty infection of the uterus in un-spayed female dogs and it can even be life threatening.  It can happen as a result of hormone changes in the reproductive organs of the female dog.  Over a period of time when the dog does not become pregnant, the lining of the womb can thicken, often allowing cysts to develop.

This thickened lining provides an ideal environment for bacteria to flourish.  In addition, higher levels of progesterone can prevent the muscles in the lining of the uterus to contract and eliminate the accumulation of fluids and bacteria.  These two factors combined can lead to infection and it is why vets recommend that all bitches that are not intended to be bred from should be spayed after their first season.

Symptoms of Pyometra.

The signs of this condition very much depend on whether the cervix remains open, or closed.  If open, fluid (pus) will drain from the uterus, then through the vagina to the outside of the body where it may be seen collecting on the dog’s fur.

If the cervix remains closed the stomach may become distended and toxins are absorbed into the bloodstream causing the dog to be very lethargic with the possibility of vomiting and diarrhea.  The dog may become very ill, very quickly and it is vital that she is taken immediately to the vet.  Toxins released into the bloodstream will mean that the kidneys are compromised in terms of their ability to retain fluid.  This means that in both cases, there will be an increase in urination and the dog may drink excessively as a means of re-hydrating.

Treatment of Pyometra.

The favoured treatment for this condition is to spay the dog as a matter of urgency.  However, the operation will be a little more complicated than a routine spay since surgery is more complicated and the recovery time will be a lot longer.  The dog may have to be hospitalized and kept on a drip before surgery and for a time afterwards.  Antibiotics are then usually prescribed and to be taken for two weeks after the operation.  Without surgery the prognosis is usually very low and in fact in a lot of cases can be fatal.

With one in four female dogs suffering from this awful, life threatening infection, it is wise to ensure your pet is neutered, as this will complete prevent the situation ever happening.