Understanding Canine Pyometra

30 November 2015
 Categories: , Blog


When you are a concerned dog owner, you want to do any and everything that you can to protect your pet's health. And if you have a female dog of breeding age, you may be hoping that she has a few litters of puppies before you consider getting her spayed. However, what you may not know is that female dogs who have not been spayed run the risk of developing a condition known as pyometra. Get to know more about pyometra so that you can be sure to protect your dog as much as possible and get her the necessary treatment if she does develop the condition.

What Is Pyometra?

Pyometra is a serious infection in a female dog's uterus. It is a condition that most often develops following the luteal phase of the dog's reproductive style. This means that it tends to develop after the egg is released, but before the dog goes into heat.

It is an inflammatory infection. However, the exact or precise cause of the infection is largely unknown. Pyometra is caused by bacteria, similar to a urinary tract infection as numerous types of bacteria are often present in testing of dogs that have developed pyometra. The problem is that the precise bacteria or combination of bacteria that cause the infection have yet to be determined.

How Serious Is Pyometra?

Pyometra is an extremely serious bacterial infection in dogs and is considered to be life threatening.  Because of the difficulty veterinarians have diagnosing this type of infection, it is usually quite developed and severe when found, making it even more dire and serious.

What Are The Signs Your Dog Has Pyometra?

Often the signs of pyometra in your dog will start out subtle and then progress to severe quickly. The first signs are a lack of appetite and unusual licking of the back end. She may also appear excessively thirsty. As the infection worsens, your dog may have a swollen abdomen, have pus coming from the area of her vulva, or even collapse entirely.

What Are The Treatment Options?

If your dog does have pyometra, she will need treatment immediately. Therefore, if you suspect this type of infection, you will want to get to your regular veterinarian's office or an emergency vet or animal hospital as soon as possible.

The only way to treat pyometra that will save your dog's life is to perform an emergency surgery to remove the infected uterus and ovaries. While this is like a standard spay surgery, it is more complicated because of the severity of the infection. Your dog will be given continuous IV antibiotics to help stop the spread of the infection and prevent sepsis (a deadly infection in the blood). She will also likely be kept for observation and more fluids and medication for several days following the surgery.

Now that you know more about pyometra in dogs, you can better care for your dog should you have a female dog of breeding age. If you do not plan to breed your dog, you can prevent pyometra entirely by having her spayed as soon as possible. Visit a veterinarian like Robert Irelan DVM if you have any concerns.