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Canine Pyometra

What is Pyometra?

Pyometra is infection of the uterus. The infection is most commonly caused by E. coli, which enter the uterus either due to a mild urinary infection, or from the normal bacterial flora of the lower reproductive tract. The condition is most likely to occur within 4-6 weeks after the female dog has been in estrus (heat), which is why it is so important to spay female dogs before their first heat.

Pyometra can be classified as open or closed. Closed Pyometra means that the entrance to the uterus is closed, so pus and debris is accumulating in the uterus, causing it to massively swell.  Open Pyometra are cases where the infection is draining out through the vulva. This is less serious, as the uterus is not swelling up as pus can escape. Pyometra is life-threatening as the infection may become so severe it is fatal, and in closed Pyometra the uterus may rupture, causing severe bleeding and shock.

Symptoms

  • Lethargy
  • Increased drinking and urination
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Discharge from vulva

Treatment

The best way to treat and prevent Pyometra is to spay your female dog. During the spay procedure the ovaries and uterus are removed, and therefore dogs that have been spayed cannot develop Pyometra. Spaying is the only guaranteed way to prevent Pyometra – any non-spayed female dog is at risk of developing it. The spay operation on a young; healthy dog is much safer than surgery on an ill dog suffering from Pyometra. Also, elective spaying has the benefit of reducing the risk that a female dog will suffer from mammary tumors later in life. Antibiotic therapy using appropriate antibiotics is required if a dog developes a Pyometra infection.

Case

Name: Mokka 

Breed: Yorkie-Poo 

Sex: Female 

Age: 10 years

History

5 days prior to presentation owner noticed change in pet’s general behavior. Discharge from vulva was also noticed for past 3 days, eating and drinking had decreased but was consistent. Last estrus cycle ended timing in weeks before presenting.  X-rays were taken and an enlarged uterus was noted, a pre-anesthetic blood sample was taken and sent to lab. Pyometra surgery was scheduled for the next day, based on blood results. Routine Pyometra surgery was done with no complications; uterus was excised carefully and taken out of abdominal cavity. Incision was closed with intra-dermal sutures placed and pet was put on anti inflammatory medication and antibiotics.  For the next 2 days pet was on I.V fluids and monitoring, then was released into owners care.

Follow Up

Day 7: “Mokka” was doing very well; incision healing excellent.

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