Canine Pyometra

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: February 22, 2018
Canine Pyometra

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Do you know what canine pyometra is? Do you think your dog might be suffering from it? In this article we'll cover the symptoms of this disease are so you can identify it. We also explain what is the recommended treatment for canine pyometra.

This infectious disease is not contagious and it is very common in female dogs over 5 years old, although it can occur at any age in sexually mature dogs, meaning they have been in heat. If action is not taken quickly, it could seriously complicate the life of your female dog.

Keep reading this AnimalWised article and discover all about canine pyometra, including its symptoms and treatment.

You may also be interested in: Canine Leptospirosis - Symptoms and Treatment

What is pyometra?

Pyometra is a uterine infection which causes a large accumulation of purulent material and secretions deep inside the animal's womb. Depending on whether this purulent material bulges outward through the vagina and vulva, pyometra is classified as open or closed. Logically, closed pyometra is usually more severe and more difficult to diagnose.

While it is a common disease in dogs, it can affect other mammals like cats or humans.

What are the causes that lead to pyometra?

There is no clear precipitating cause. However, it has been found that the time of greatest risk is between 6 and 8 weeks after coming out of heat, because at this time the cervix begins to close.

It has been suggested that hormonal influences from progesterone - a hormone secreted by the corpus luteum of the ovary - cause cysts in the endometrium - the inner layer of the uterus - and increase the endometrium's mucus secretion. This, together with the entry of bacteria, increases significantly the risk of infection.

Canine Pyometra - What are the causes that lead to pyometra?

What are the most common symptoms of canine pyometra?

The first symptoms of canine pyometra are fairly unspecific; for example, they include a loss of appetite and lethargy. It's likely that a female dog suffering from pyometra will be listless, dull, and offer little response to stimuli.

In the case of an open pyometra, there would be a visible secretion of pus, mucous and blood from the vagina and vulva. This may be confused with the animal being in heat on the part of the owners.

Later on the dog begins to show polyuria, that is, increased urine volume, very long urination, and even accidental urination and polydipsia, that is, increased water intake.

If the disease goes undiagnosed and left untreated, it triggers shock and sepsis (generalized infection) and can even cause the death of the animal. It is therefore necessary to go to the vet as soon as you notice the first symptoms.

Canine Pyometra - What are the most common symptoms of canine pyometra?

What is the recommended treatment for pyometra?

It is always advisable to opt for a ovariohysterectomy (surgical castration), which would mean the surgical removal of ovaries and uterus, plus treatment with antibiotics. It is an effective treatment, as long as the infection has not spread and the state of the animal is stable. In case of generalized infection, the prognosis is worse.

In the case of dogs with a high breeding value, you can try treatment with antibiotics as well as drainage of the vagina and flushing the uterus. The results of this treatment are generally unsatisfactory.

Canine Pyometra - What is the recommended treatment for pyometra?

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Canine Pyometra, we recommend you visit our Bacterial diseases category.

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