On Thursday this week we had a particularly pressing emergency.
The day was closing up and food stock lowering when we received a call concerning a pit-bull. She was exhibiting large amounts of discharge, clearly in pain and very lethargic.
These are all signs that the dog should be brought in immediately and as she entered, our technician could tell straight away what the problem was: Pyometra.
Pyometra is a condition of the uterus which affects female middle aged dogs that have not been spayed and have not been producing litters either. What happens is the dog starts either producing an excessive amount of progesterone (a type of hormone), or the uterus becomes oversensitive to it, and this causes pyometra. In either case, cysts form in the lining of the uterus. These cysts contain secretory cells, and large amounts of fluids are produced and released into the interior of the uterus.
We put the dog in a sleeping state, took blood samples and laid her on the table. Since toxicity may develop very quickly in dogs with pyometra, it needs to be treated promptly.
The best way to treat pyometra is a complete ovariohysterectomy (spay). This removes the ovaries, oviducts, uterus, and all associated blood vessels.
This was the case for the Pit-bull in the clinic and we are pleased to say that the surgery went well for her.
After several long hours the surgery was complete, and the pet was able to return home, though it will take a few days until full recovery. We are glad that we were able to help another dog with this condition, and hope that through posting this blog, readers will be aware of the signs of pyometra, and will consider spaying their females.
How can pyometra be prevented?
The best prevention is to have all female animals spayed at or before six months of age. If the animal is used for breeding, then spaying the animal after she is past her breeding years is highly recommended. Pyometra is a fairly common and serious problem and is just one of many compelling reasons to have your female pet spayed at an early age.
Many people choose not to spay their female dogs to keep costs down, however if an immediate surgery is needed in the case of pyometra, it can actually turn out much more expensive than a regular spay would, and a lot less pain and suffering for your dog.
- Discharge of pus from the vulva in a female that has recently been in heat
- Loss of appetite
- Increased drinking and urinating