It Can Save Your Pet’s Life

PyometraCanine Pyometric Uterus - Image via Wikipedia
Spaying and neutering aren’t just for preventing reproduction.  If you have had the good fortune of having a cat or a dog as part of your family I am sure that you have been well-educated on the importance of spaying & neutering your pets - for the most obvious reason of preventing reproduction.  But there are also more important reasons for the practice - ensuring the good health of your pet as they mature.  I don't discount the importance of these procedures for the health of my pets but I must admit, I did have one dog that I never neutered and he lived to be 17 years old.  This is NOT an endorsement for NOT fixing your pet because there are life-threatening medical conditions which can affect your pet if they are not fixed.  I recently experienced one of these conditions. Pyometra, meaning "pus-filled uterus", is a condition that can affect female dogs, cats, rats, ferrets, rabbits, and guinea pigs.

I recently adopted an older Pit mix named Suede.  She was in very good health but had not been spayed and had just given birth to a litter shortly before I adopted her.  Over the course of 2 months following the adoption, I made several attempts to get Suede spayed by the adoption agency, per my contract agreement.  Long story short, it didn't happen.   During this period Suede experienced a heat cycle.  This is important to mention.  Before I knew it, by the third month, she became sick.  I had no idea what was happening to her.

The symptoms I observed were
  • A thick, purulent, vaginal discharge
  • Increased urination
  • Change in eating habits – not in the amount she was eating but just the way she was eating.
  • What appeared to be another “period” which started simply as spotting, however the blood was a very strange shade of red.  It was too soon after her last heat cycle for her to be having her period and the spotting quickly escalated to extreme bleeding.  At one point she barked and blood literally spewed out of her vagina.
Suede's symptoms progressed rapidly over the course of 1 week.  I took her to the Animal Medical Center where she received EXCELLENT care from Doctors Currao, Corbin and Fink.  She was diagnosed with Pyometra, which would require emergency life-saving surgery. Pyometra is a uterine infection which is common in older, unspayed female dogs.  It occurs when bacteria infects uterine secretions which results in the uterus becoming enlarged, abscessed, and pus-filled.  If a dog has Pyometra it is important to seek medical attention immediately since your dog can either already be septic or eventually suffer septic shock.

While it was relatively easy to diagnose my “pup” with Pyometra, it is not always easily diagnosable if it is a closed Pyometra, which means there is no vaginal discharge, so if there are other symptoms, they may be mistakenly attributed to other conditions.

Symptoms of Pyometra include
  • Vaginal discharge of pus sometimes including blood.
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Increased drinking
  • Increased urination
  • Fever – sometimes
  • Abdomen may become enlarged

Depending on severity -  or if a Closed-Cervix Pyometra – symptoms may include
  • Signs of blood poisoning
  • Pale mucous membranes
  • Cold extremities
  • Reduced body temperature
  • Collapse.

Treatment of Pyometra will include administration of antibiotics and possibly intravenous fluids.  The treatment of choice is surgery which is basically a Spay but with the added complication of already-present infection.
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Unknown said...

Wow, that sounds so scary, I'm sorry you had to go through that! I hope Suede is doing much better after all that.

Annette and Snoopy said...

Oh No, poor Suede, give her an extra hug from us......I'm hope she's doing well now.....

Annette and Snoopy