A dog is nothing short of a constant source of happiness for us in the house. We try to give them the best life possible and keep them happy and occupied. However, our canine friends are bound to develop some disorders as they grow older.
One of the most common disorders observed in veterinary clinics is a condition called Pyometra. It happens to females over the age of 8 years and is a condition of the reproductive glands.
Let’s shed some light on Pyometra and try to figure out how it happens and what we can do about it.
In This Article...
What is Pyometra in Dogs?
Pyometra is a serious condition of the womb in which the uterus fills up with pus, negatively affecting other vital organs in the vicinity. In fact, the word ”Pyometra” translates to pus-uterus. In this condition, If left untreated, Pyometra can lead to kidney failure, toxemia, dehydration, or in a few rare cases, death.
Pyometra is a bacterial infection generally caused by the villainous E.coli. It happens a few weeks after a female has been in heat. That period of hormonal changes makes the female dogs susceptible to infection. The symptoms of Pyometra are a little challenging to identify because they are disguised all too well.
Pyometra in Dogs – Signs & Symptoms
The most common indicators of Pyometra are lethargy and refusal to eat food. In some cases, you may observe vaginal discharge from your dog’s vagina. As the infection progresses, your dog may be reluctant even to move the smallest distance.
Vets will look at a few more indicators of Pyometra. They will inquire about the dog’s last season (heat) and ask you whether she has been licking her vulva often. Moreover, the vet is also likely to check her abdomen for any swelling. Both these are clear signs that there is an anomaly in the dog’s womb.
You can also keep a keen eye on your dog and look for signs that could lead up to Pyometra. If your dog has pale gums, you would want to take her to the vet. Moreover, if you notice her drinking excessive water and urinating it all out multiple times in the day, it is cause for caution. Your dog might also vomit her food or have bloody diarrhea, both indicators of a malfunctioning system.
If you notice any of the above symptoms in your dog, take her to the vet ASAP. Early diagnosis and treatment can be instrumental in saving your dog’s life.
Pyometra in Dogs – Treatment
The answer is simple. When Pyometra is diagnosed in the system, the vet will begin an emergency procedure to remove the womb – the uterus – after gauging the severity of the matter. This surgical procedure is no different from the ”spaying” process. However, surgically removing the womb of a sick dog has a few additional risks than the average spaying procedure.
Moreover, the vet will provide emergency medication to help the dog feel better. These medications will include painkillers and abdominal relievers, which will reduce the chances of her vomiting or going through painful bowel movements. The vet will also ensure a constant drip of IV Fluid into the dog to keep her hydrated. Thus, it is absolutely imperative that you bring the dog to the vet as soon as possible when you start noticing symptoms of Pyometra.
Can dogs survive Pyometra?
Yes. Pyometra is life-threatening, but it does not often result in the death of your dog. However, timely action is critical in cases of Pyometra to ensure that the dog has the best life ahead. The sooner your dog receives the treatment, the better are their chances for survival. Most dogs who come to the vet during the early onset of the condition are fully cured, and they live a happy life ahead.
Are there alternative methods to treat Pyometra in dogs?
Doctors can try to drain the pus from the womb using the treatment of prostaglandins as an alternate method to surgery. Prostaglandins are hormones that are administered along with antibiotics. However, vets rarely go through with this process as it holds too many risks and limitations.
Can spayed dogs get Pyometra?
No, spayed dogs cannot get Pyometra because their wombs have been removed. However, if the spaying has not been done correctly and the ovarian tissue is present in little bits in the dog’s body, they can develop Pyometra. Additionally, when progestational hormones are administered to dogs, they develop a risk of Pyometra.
What does Pyometra discharge look like?
It is essential for dog-owners (or “hoomans””) to know when the alarm is tripped. When a dog faces Pyometra, its uterus is filled with pus. Their body pushes the pus out through the vaginal opening. You will notice a foul-smelling white or green colored discharge emanating from your dog’s vagina. That is the pyometra discharge. If you have not been able to gauge any symptoms and signs of Pyometra yet but notice vaginal discharge, you must get your dog to the vet, stat.
In some instances, there is no vaginal discharge, but the abdomen swells up without discharge. These are cases of closed pyometra infection. However, the routine stays the same – if you notice vaginal discharge or bloated abdomen, the pyometra condition has worsened significantly, and you need to get your dog to the vet as soon as possible.
The vet will first examine your pet’s belly and perform an ultrasound to determine if the cause of the pain is a pregnancy or an infection. They will also take a sample of the vaginal discharge for testing and identifying the bacteria causing all this. Once the culprit microbe has been identified, the vet will decide the treatment. The first stage of the treatment will ensure the reversal of most symptoms. The vet will use medications to stop vomiting and defecation and even give the pet something for their pain. Then comes the more complex stage – surgery.
Can antibiotics cure Pyometra?
No. Combating Pyometra with antibiotics only is not the best treatment for the dog. The amount of pus in the uterus keeps the antibiotics from reaching the epicenter of the infection. Even if the meds do penetrate the disease, the pyometra infection is too overbearing and will return sooner or later.
Therefore, the most preferred method of treating Pyometra is surgery. As we said before, removing the uterus and ovaries from the dog ensures that the pet is free from the pain of Pyometra. The uterus is also drained of all the pus in this procedure. In cases of a closed pyometra infection, surgery is the only treatment possible.
The procedure of removing the cervix can be a tricky and risky one. Vets run the risk of rupturing the uterus and spilling pus over other internal organs. If this happens, then the dog runs the risk of infecting all other internal organs. Aftercare is a critical part of pyometra treatment. The pet will have to take antibiotics for two weeks after the surgery to prevent any secondary infection from the wound site. She will also have to be hospitalized for one or two days after the surgery so that doctors can keep an eye on her healing process and vitals. She will also be kept on IV Fluids to fulfill her basic nutritional needs. Lastly, doctors will ask you to bring your dog in for a post-op check-up two weeks after discharge from the hospital.
The vet must take the infected womb out of the body at the earliest. Doing this will prevent any risk to the pet. The condition itself is very painful to older dogs, and you must relieve them of the same. Moreover, there is always a risk of death in cases of Pyometra and its surgical treatment.
Pyometra is a condition of the uterus. It is commonly seen in female cats and dogs. It is an excruciating condition in which pus accumulates in the uterus of your pet. It is caused by a bacterial infection and can be fatal if not treated in time. Pyometra is a very painful condition and needs immediate medical attention.
The condition is common among female canines over the age of eight. The infection happens a few weeks after the pet’s season (heat), when the reproductive system is the most vulnerable. The condition would take a toll on your pet, and you would see clear indications of the same. The pet will not be as active as it used to be. It will not be excited about walks or even for play-time. You will also notice the pet abstaining from food that they usually like but drinking unnecessary amounts of water.
Beyond these clear signs, if your pet starts urinating or defecating in unusual places at unusual times, you can consider taking them to the vet and checking for Pyometra. Bloody feces are the most tell-tale sign of an infection. It is your responsibility to read your pet’s body language and take necessary measures for their health and well-being.