A condition that is relatively often seen by vets in female dogs and it affects the female reproductive system. In this article we will talk about pyometra, what it is, how dogs get it, can it be treated and how much would the owner have to pay for this.
What is pyometra and how does it happen?
A life-threatening condition that happens under the influence of hormones, when the womb fills up with puss, is known as pyometra. With that said, we can conclude that it only occurs in bitches that are not neutered and it is more commonly seen in older dogs. However, there is no exact rule about when a bitch can get this condition because experience has shown that it can be seen in dogs even as young as one year.
The possibility of occurring is usually when the heat cycle in the female dog has finished and this is a period where hormonal changes occur, which makes the uterus more susceptible to infection.
Pyometra can be referred to as “open” and “closed”. Open pyometra means that there is some gooey discharge coming from the dog’s vulva and it is often a telltale sign that something is wrong. Closed pyometra is more scary because owners are not aware that something is wrong with their dog and in many cases, this can prove to be fatal.
What are the clinical signs that your dog has pyometra?
The first symptoms may appear a couple of weeks after your dog has had its heat cycle. The most commonly seen signs are:
- increased water intake
- increased urination
- loss of appetite
- discharge from the vulva
- sore and bloated tummy
Owners are usually pretty good at noticing when something is wrong with their dog, which is why if you see any of the five signs above, make sure to contact or visit your vet, especially if you own an unaltered female dog.
How is pyometra diagnosed in dogs?
Once you arrive at the vet’s office, the vet will ask you a series of questions regarding your dog’s heat cycle, when it began, when did it end and when did you start noticing the discharge or changes in behavior.
After that, they will perform a physical examination, draw out some blood or CBC and biochemistry, and probably do an ultrasound examination and x-ray. Blood work usually shows signs of infection and ultrasound will certainly confirm the vet’s suspicion when they notice distinct changes in the uterine horns.
Treatment options for dogs with pyometra
The preferred method is the surgical removal of the ovaries and the uterus, which is called an ovariohysterectomy. It means that your dog gets neutered and there is no chance that this condition will ever occur.
In some cases, the owners are not happy to have their dog undergo this procedure and they choose a nonsurgical approach. This involved a round of antibiotics, which could help in some easier cases, but there is a high chance that this will reoccur in the next heat cycle.
Owners could pay up to $2000 for this procedure, especially when the patient comes in a severe condition and it may require hospitalization for a couple of days.