Pyometra occurs in unsterilised female dogs and cats where the uterus becomes infected and fills with pus. It is triggered by a heat cycle that doesn’t end in egg fertilisation and caused by an excessive amount of progesterone or hypersensitivity of the uterus to progesterone.
Dogs typically start showing signs of the disease within two to four months after their heat cycle. Common symptoms to look out for can include lethargy, vomiting, increased thirst, a bloody and smelly vaginal discharge, fever, collapse and increased size in abdomen.
This is defined as an emergency, immediate veterinary attention is required. If your regular veterinarian is not open, call or take your dog to the nearest emergency centre.
When you get to the vet, some test occur and may include blood testing, x-ray and ultrasound. In severe cases your vet will undertake blood testing to understand and detect the possibility of other organs which may have become damaged.
Both surgical and medical management options are available to treat patients with pyometra, and both carry associated risks. The decision to pursue medical vs. surgical management will be based on the clinical stability of your pet, the associated risks of treatment and the patient’s reproductive value and potential. Pets with a closed-cervix pyometra are at higher risk for uterine rupture and systemic illness.
Generally, IV fluids are usually administered for several days, along with antibiotics to treat the potentially life-threatening infection. The uterus and surrounding areas will be irrigated to flush away pus, fluids and assist recovery.
In severe cases of Pyometra the uterus becomes at risk of rupturing and empting all of its contents into the abdominal cavity. In this situation, the veterinarian will recommend surgery to reduce the risk of life threatening septic peritonitis and/or acute kidney failure from uremic poisoning.