Pyometra is a serious infection that occurs in the uterus. All unspayed female dogs are susceptible to pyometra. The infection usually occurs a few weeks after your dog's heat cycle, since that's when there is an increased level of progesterone. If caught early, there is a very high chance of recovery. However, if it is not recognized and treated quickly, the infection could easily become serious and sometimes fatal.
There are two types of pyometra, open and closed:
- Open pyometra is easier to diagnose and treat. With an open pyometra your dog will have a foul smelling discharge from the vaginal area.
- Closed pyometra is more complicated and serious. Since there is no opening, the pus cannot drain itself causing it to build up. This build up can cause multiple problems for your dog if not treated quickly.
Some of the symptoms your pet may experience include abdominal swelling, excessive drinking, and excessive urination, loss of appetite, difficulty getting up, weakness and lethargy.
It is possible for the uterus to rupture without proper diagnosis and treatment. This could cause a high fever and sepsis, along with symptoms of shock which can be fatal.
Treatment is surgical. Basically, the dog needs to be spayed, but it is not as straight forward as a routine spay. These animals are sick and the uterus and its vessels are distended, so surgery can be more difficult for both the surgeon and the canine patient. These patients will need to be hospitalized on IV fluids, antibiotics, and pain medications. Spaying will prevent this condition.