Pyometra in Dogs

Pyometra in female dogs is serious and life-threatening.

Pyometra in dogs is a dangerous infection of the uterus. It is an extremely serious condition that can result in death if it is left untreated.

Causes of Pyometra in Dogs

Each time an unspayed dog goes into heat, her uterine lining swells in order to prepare for a pregnancy. Sometimes, this engorgement persists and this is known as endometrial cystic hyperplasia. When the lining of the uterus is in this state, it is more susceptible to becoming infected. Bacteria that are normally in the vagina may ascend into the uterus and cause it to fill up with pus. Bacteria and the toxins that they produce cross the uterine wall and enter the bloodstream, causing systemic poisoning. The uterus will eventually die and rupture, releasing pus and tissue into the dog's body. Pyometra causes death if it is not treated.

Presentation and Signs of Pyometra in Dogs

Dogs with pyometra may have fairly non-specific signs of illness at first. It is important that, if you have an unspayed female dog, you always keep pyometra in mind. If your dog is acting ill, err on the side of caution by taking her to the veterinarian. The following signs are common in dogs with pyometra:

Breeds, Gender, and Ages Most Commonly Affected by Pyometra in Dogs

Diagnosis of Pyometra in Dogs

Diagnosis of pyometra can be accomplished through the following steps:

Treatment of Pyometra in Dogs

Home Care of Pyometra in Dogs

Sometimes, in the case of an "open pyometra" where the cervix is open and the uterine contents are draining, antibiotic therapy can control the infection and possibly resolve it. However, this is not a preferred treatment for two reasons:

Prevention of Pyometra in Dogs

Pyometra is prevented by having your female dog spayed before she goes into her first heat. Generally, dogs experience their first estrus cycle around seven months of age, so dogs that are spayed at around six months of age generally never go into heat.

Reasons that people do not have their female dogs spayed:

Prognosis for Pyometra in Dogs

If a dog is already in shock by the time the pyometra is diagnosed, the prognosis is poor. If the pyometra is caught early, the dog is well-supported with fluids and temperature stabilization before and after surgery, and no complications occur during surgery due to the fragile uterine tissue, the prognosis is good for full recovery. Relapse will not be possible.


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