Pyometra

General Information:

Pyometra is a severe bacterial infection with accumulation of pus within the uterus. Though it often occurs in middle-aged or older females that have never had puppies, younger dogs are sometimes affected. 

Pyometra results from hormonal influences that decrease the normal resistance to infection. As a result, bacteria enter the uterus when the cervix is open during the heat period, and infection results. If the cervix closes after infection, large volumes of pus can accumulate. 

Signs of pyometra include:

  • loss of appetite, weight loss but masked by enlarging abdomen
  • excessive thirst
  • depression
  • vomiting
  • discharge of pus from the vagina (variable)
  • The disease may develop very slowly over several weeks.

    Treatment Information:

    1. Medical and surgical treatments are available, but surgical treatment is more common. The advantages of surgery are that the condition cannot recur, and there will no longer be any bothersome heat periods. Medical treatment is most often performed in young animals intended for breeding or when surgery seems too risky. In some cases, medical treatment is used until the animal is strong enough for surgery. 
    2. Surgery consists of removal of both ovaries and the uterus. Because the patient is ill and the uterus is infected, the surgery is more complicated and carries a higher risk than routine spaying in a healthy animal. Postoperative treatment includes antibiotics and intravenous fluids. Blood tests are useful in both diagnosing the condition and monitoring the response to treatment. 
    3. Give all medication as directed.
    4. Surgical patients:
      Inspect the incision at least once daily. Return for suture removal in 10 days.