Pyometra in dogs and cats is an infection of the uterus that is the result of hormonally induced changes within the uterus. Pyometra is classified as either an “open” or “closed” pyometra. If the pyometra is open, the cervix is open which allows for the infection or “pus” to exit through the vagina. If the pyometra is closed, the cervix is closed which in turn does not allow the infection to exit through the vagina.Signs of a possible pyometra are:
- vaginal discharge
- abdominal distension
- excessive drinking and urinating
- palpable uterus
- enlarged uterus void of puppies or kittens on x-ray(pregnancy must be differentiated because there can be a discharge with a pregnancy)
Pyometra is a very serious and life-threatening condition in female animals that are sexually intact. If left untreated this condition can and will lead to the animals death. There are two forms of treatment for this condition. Ovariohysterectomy or spaying is the surgical treatment of choice. Unfortunately, the pet will no longer be capable of having future litters but it is necessary to help save the pets life. This condition can be treated medically. It is recommended if medical management is considered, reserve this form of treatment for animals where the preservation of the reproductive system is of utmost importance for breeding purposes. Medical treatment is not a guarantee by any means and can be interfered with by complications. Examples of complications may be uterine rupture, sepsis, and contamination of the peritoneal cavity. All of these complications and others are life threatening.
In closing, this condition is very serious and very easy to prevent, especially in those pets in which breeding is not desired. Have your pet spayed as soon as possible.
If you have any questions about this condition, you may contact our office and we can discuss this with you further.