Pyometra in Dogs

We have previously discussed the merits of desexing dogs at a young age but now we will focus on one of the nasty disease that dogs can get if they are not desexed: Pyometra.  What on earth is that, you may say?  Well, Pyo means ‘Pus’ and metra pertains to the uterus, so pyometra is essentially a uterus filled with pus. As you can imagine, this is not only very, very unpleasant, but it makes the poor dog very, very sick. 

Now, as the name suggests, your canine companion needs to have a uterus in order to develop pyometra, so a dog that is desexed is not at risk of this disease.  The development of the disease is pretty complex but to cut a long story short, after your dog has had several menstrual cycles, the wall of the uterus becomes thickened under the influence of all the hormones that are produced.  The cervix, or the exit of the uterus, also becomes thickened and the bacteria that has tracked into the uterus from the outside world becomes trapped.  Bacteria loves to multiply in warm, moist environments, and the uterus is just that.  When there is lots of bacteria present, they start to produce pus, which of course, can’t get out due to the closed cervix.  This large amount of pus in the body makes the poor little pooch feel very ill, and the situation becomes even worse if the uterus bursts under pressure and the pus escapes, thus infecting the whole abdomen.  This horrible disease can also occur in cats but is much less common.

What about treatment?  Well, the solution is always surgical, but your dog will first need to be stabilized with IV fluids and antibiotics.  He or she will then need surgery to remove the uterus and clean the abdomen if necessary.  Provided there are no complications, they usually recover well.  However, prevention is better than a cure, so female dogs should be desexed as a pup.

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