The word pyometra can be divided into two root words :Pyo means pus, and Metra refers

 to the uterus Pyometra starts after a dog goes through a heat cycle, usually within about

3 to 5 weeks. Stimulation of the uterus with abnormal levels of hormones (estrogen and

 progesterone) cause the lining of the uterus to become thickened and fluid accumulates

 inside the uterus. Infection develops in the uterus. As the infection progresses, the uterus

 fills with pus.

The infection is life-threatening; closed pyometra (cervix is not open and pus cannot drain

 to the outside )may cause a pet to become more ill than open pyometra (the pus can drain

 through the cervix).


Clinical signs include: Pus may or may not drain from the vagina, increased thirst/

increased urination, enlargement of the abdomen as the uterus fills with pus, lethargy,

poor appetite, weight loss, enlargement of the abdomen, fever and dehydration.


Pyometra is a life-threatening condition, if the cervix is closed. Animals should be

hospitalized and supportive care with the administration of fluids and antibiotics begun

immediately. The preferred treatment for pyometra is a hysterectomy (spay), as this is a

 condition that will re-occur every time the bitch goes through her heat cycle, unless she

fell pregnant!


In some females valued for breeding, prostaglandin and antibiotic therapy may be tried

instead of surgery. The prostaglandin is given for 5-7 days and causes the uterus to

contract and expel the fluid. In mild cases, when the cervix is still open and the fluid is

draining, the success rate is excellent. This therapy should only be used in dogs 6 years

of age or younger, who are in stable condition, and have an open cervix. Prostaglandins

 can have side effects, especially after the first dose, including restlessness, panting,

vomiting, increased heart rate, fever, and defecation.

The best prevention for this condition, is to have all female animals spayed while still

young. If the animal is used for breeding, then spaying the animal after she is past her

 breeding years is highly recommended. Pyometra is a fairly common and serious

problem and is just one of many compelling reasons to have your female pet spayed at

an early age.


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