Pyometra (infected womb) in female dogs
A pyometra is an infection inside the womb. Any unneutered female dog is at risk of developing a pyometra, especially if they are over six years old.
Hormonal changes during a season/heat put your dog at risk of a womb infection. Once the heat is over, the majority return to normal, but unfortunately, some dogs develop complications, which lead to an infection (pyometra). As a pyometra develops, the womb fills with pus. A pyometra can lead to blood poisoning, kidney failure, peritonitis and even death.
We talk about a pyometra as either ‘open’ or ‘closed’. An open pyometra is when the womb entrance is open, meaning you are likely to see blood and pus coming from your dog’s vulva. A closed pyometra is when the womb entrance is shut; meaning you are unlikely to see any discharge. A closed pyometra is particularly dangerous because it is at risk of bursting.
Hormone therapy used to treat an unwanted pregnancy increases the chance of a pyometra.
Symptoms of a pyometra usually begin four to eight weeks after a season, and include:
- Drinking more than usual
- Pus leaking from vulva/vagina
- Bloated abdomen (tummy)
- Panting & weakness
- Off their food
- Weeing more than usual
- Just not being ‘quite right’
Our veterinary team will be able to diagnose your dog based on their symptoms and an ultrasound scan of their womb and a blood test.
The treatment for pyometra is emergency surgery to remove the pyometra. Your dog is likely to need a fluid drip to keep them hydrated. Alongside surgery, it is likely that we will need to give your dog pain relief and antibiotics.
As with any surgery, your dog will need to be kept calm to make sure they don’t damage their stitches, in particular the internal stitches that seal the blood vessels.
The sooner your dog is treated, the better their chance of recovery. Unfortunately, chances of recovery are lower if your dog is old, poorly or if the pyometra has been present for a while.