Pyometra In Dogs – Important Information About This Condition That May Save Your Dog’s Life
A dog that’s in heat can be quite a sad sight. During this time your dog may show lethargy, reduced appetite and some slight change in their personality. The dog’s heat cycle can last for 3 – 4 weeks. Many dog owners usually secure their dogs to ensure that they don’t get pregnant while others allow their dogs to mate.
There’s nothing wrong with either scenario but the problem is that dogs that are intact or going through their heat cycle are prone to develop a condition called Pyometra.
The problem is that dogs tend to show the same symptoms when they’re in heat and suffering from this condition in addition to fever and discharge. This is a big problem considering that Pyometra is a very lethal condition if not treated immediately.
Due to this, we will be discussing this condition to help pet owners be aware and to help them detect the problem earlier on.
What is Pyometra?
Pyometra is an infection in the dog’s uterus. This condition usually happens during or after the dog’s heat cycle. Older dogs that are intact or unsprayed are prone to develop this condition but there are also cases where younger dogs can also develop it. This condition can be very lethal and can cause death to your pets if not treated immediately.
What causes this condition?
Pyometra is usually brought on due to the hormonal and structural changes in your dog’s uterus after every heat cycle. Basically, the dog’s uterine wall tends to get thicker every time it under goes the heat cycle, regardless of whether the dog gets pregnant or not. This thick uterine wall then becomes a pretty good place for bacteria to grow.
How does the bacteria enter the uterus? Well, typically, the uterus is free from bacteria. However, once your dog enters another heat cycle her cervix will open up which allows the bacteria from the dog’s vulva to enter the uterus. Once the bacteria enters the uterus it will thrive, resulting in the uterus to fill-up with pus.
What are the signs or symptoms of this condition?
Most of the time, Pyometra occurs after the heat cycle but there are also times when the dog can also develop the condition during the cycle. This is why we highly suggest that pet owners carefully check their dogs when in heat.
Some symptoms of this condition are as follows;
- Reduced Appetite
- Discharge in her vulva
- Increased Urination
- Increased water intake
As we mentioned above, there are dogs that may show a few of these signs just because they’re in heat. That said, it’s definitely better to be safe than sorry. So if you notice any of these signs especially any discharge or fever please have your dog checked by your vet.
You should also bear in mind that, although discharge in the vulva is a common symptom, there are dogs that will not have any discharge but will still be diagnosed with this condition.
How is Pyometra diagnosed?
Pyometra is usually diagnosed by an ultrasound. The ultrasound can show whether your dog’s uterus is filled with pus. This can also rule out pregnancy as the cause of your dog’s enlarged uterus.
How is the problem treated?
The good news is that if Pyometra is detected early then it’s definitely treatable. The most suggested treatment is to have your dog undergo an ovariohysterectomy. An ovariohysterectomy is basically the process of spaying the dog. This surgery will involve your vet removing the infected uterus and your dog’s ovaries.
Although, this is the best course of action there are some risks that can involve this operation. This is because your dog’s body may still be weakened because of the infection. Once the surgery succeeds however, there is definitely no chance of the condition from reoccurring.
Another way to treat this condition is by injecting a certain kind of hormone in the dog. This hormone can help expel the pus that has filled the uterus. The downside to this is that there is a chance that the dog’s uterus may rupture in case of a closed Pyometra. Your dog will also likely develop the same condition again.
If you do decide to go with either course of treatment, it is important that you follow your vet’s instructions in caring for your dog.
How to prevent this condition from occurring?
The best way to prevent this condition from happening is by spaying your dog. As mentioned above, once your dog is already spayed then it ultimately eliminates any risk of her developing Pyometra.
If you’re interested in having your dog spayed then be sure to ask your vet for more information regarding the procedure.
As you can see, Pyometra can be a very nasty condition than can lead to your dog’s possible death. For this reason, we highly urge pet owners to have their dogs spayed or to be very vigilant during the heat cycle.