WHAT IS A PYOMETRA?
A pyometra is an infection inside the womb. Any unneutered dog is at risk of developing a pyometra, especially if they are over six years old. Hormonal changes during a season/heat put your dog at risk of a womb infection. Once the heat is over, the majority return to normal, but unfortunately, some dogs develop complications, which lead to an infection (pyometra). As a pyometra develops, the womb fills with pus. A pyometra can lead to blood poisoning, kidney failure, peritonitis and even death.
We talk about a pyometra as either ‘open’ or ‘closed’. An open pyometra is when the womb entrance is open, meaning you are likely to see blood and pus coming from your dog’s vulva. A closed pyometra is when the womb entrance is shut; meaning you are unlikely to see any discharge. A closed pyometra is particularly dangerous because it is at risk of bursting.
It’s very rare, but occasionally a neutered dog will develop a specific type of pyometra called a stump pyometra – read more below. Hormone therapy used to treat an unwanted pregnancy increases the chance of a pyometra.
WHAT EXACTLY IS PYOMETRA?
Pyometra is a potentially fatal illness in which the uterus becomes infected and filled with pus due to hormonal changes. It occurs when germs enter the uterus through the cervix, which opens during the heat cycle or after a pregnancy.
It typically occurs in middle-aged dogs who have not been spayed. Pyometra is highly common in dogs getting hormonal treatment, particularly the old oestrous-suppression medications. Dogs who fit any of the following characteristics and have recently been in season or have given birth require extra attention.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF A PYOMETRA?
Symptoms of a pyometra usually begin four to eight weeks after a season, and include:
- Drinking more than usual
- Pus leaking from vulva/vagina
- Bloated abdomen (tummy)
- Panting & weakness
- Off food
- Weeing more than usual
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT FOR A PYOMETRA?
Treatment for a pyometra includes emergency surgery to remove the womb, a fluid drip and medication. The sooner a dog with a pyometra is treated, the better its chance of survival and recovery. Pyometra can cause death.
HOW CAN I PREVENT A PYOMETRA?
The most common time for a pyometra to develop is four to eight weeks after a heat/season. Neutering your dog will prevent a pyometra.
Pyometra is an emergency – contact us immediately for an emergency appointment if your dog is showing symptoms.