Pyometra is a severe bacterial infection of the uterus that can be life threating. The condition is most common in older, unspayed female dogs that have never had a litter, but it can occur in any female dog or cat that has not been spayed. In dogs, pyometra is most likely to happen in the first few weeks to months after a heat cycle.
Pyometra is described as being “open” or “closed”. With open pyometra, the cervix (the portion of the uterus that connects with the vagina) is open. Fluid that forms in the uterus as a result of the infection can drain through the vagina, out of the body.
When the cervix is closed, as in closed pyometra, the fluid in the uterus cannot drain, so it builds up stretching the uterine walls and potentially rupturing the uterus. If this occurs, the infection spreads to the abdomen and possibly into the bloodstream, leading to shock and often death.
How is pyometra diagnosed? Your veterinarian will most likely recommend bloodwork and abdominal x-rays to visualize the uterus. Abdominal ultrasound may be needed to get a better view of the uterus. If your pet has discharge, your veterinarian may examine the discharge under a microscope for signs of infection.
The best treatment for pyometra is surgical removal of the uterus and ovaries. The pet may also need intravenous fluids and antibiotics. Spaying female pets early can prevent pyometra and reduce the risk of developing breast tumors.
If you have any questions about pyometra or concerns for your female dog call our Rouge Hill veterinary hospital team at West Hill!