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Par Catherine Lapierre, TSAc, le June 9, 2014

Nearly four unspayed female dogs will suffer from a pyometra in their life. This is an infection of the uterus, which occurs in most cases in intact female dogs of 6 years or older. The frequency and severity of this disease should be an argument to encourage you to neuter your dog.

The pyometra occur usually 1-2 months after the heat and is more common in dogs who have irregular or long heat. This infection is the result of a bacterium that enters through the vaginal route and then remains trapped in the uterus when the cervix closes after the heat. The infection then grows and the uterus fills with pus.

The typical clinical picture is a fertile bitch, amorphous in recent days, with decreased appetite and sometimes abdominal pain. Foul-smelling vaginal discharge are often present, but sometimes the owners will think first of a urinary problem. A water consumption higher than normal can also be noticed, thereby causing increased production of urine. Then, fever may also be part of the clinical signs. When the infection is severe, it becomes an emergency. Indeed, if the pyometra is not treated, the infection can be turned into sepsis, which is an infection spreading throughout the whole-body of the animal, and cause his death.

For a diagnosis of pyometra, the veterinarian must do a complete physical examination of the animal, abdominal radiography, blood tests and sometimes ultrasound.

In terms of treatment, it depends on the severity of pyometra. Unfortunately, medical treatment with only antibiotics is rarely effective. In most cases, surgical removal of uterus and ovaries must be done. However, this surgery is longer and more risky than routine neutering and therefore is much more expensive. The dog will receive fluids and intravenous antibiotics and must be hospitalized in clinic until his recovery. Once the surgery is completed and the treatment completed, the prognosis is good for the dog.

The only way to prevent this quite common disease is to neuter your dog. Routine neutering will avoid a lot of pain for you and your dog as well as save your wallet.

Take note that cats can also suffer from pyometra, but this is less common than in the bitch.

The veterinarian team of Hôpital Vétérinaire Ste-Rose will be happy to answer your questions and look forward to seeing you the planning of neutering your dog!

Catherine Lapierre, certified veterinary technician

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