What Is Pyometra And How Does It Occur?

By September 9, 2013 Pet Health
how to treat pyometra

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What Is Pyometra And How Does It Occur?

A non-spayed female dog or cat over the age of 6 years is more susceptible to pyometra than a younger dog.

Pyometra is a rather serious condition and is due to the infection of the uterus.

It is evidenced by the accumulation of pus in the uterus and if left untreated it can be fatal to your pet.

Though it affects both, it is more common in dogs than cats.

What Causes Pyometra

Pyometra is caused by increased amounts of progesterone, or the hypersensitivity of the uterus to progesterone. However, there might be a secondary infection caused by e. coli bacteria. Pyometra is triggered by a heat cycle that does not end up in pregnancy. After several years of heat cycles without falling pregnant, changes in the uterine wall promote this disease. Pyometra usually occurs two to eight weeks after the last heat cycle.

Differences Between OPen and Closed Pyometra

Pyometra can be open or closed. When open it means the accumulated fluid in the uterus starts leaking out through the vagina. And the pet may be seen licking the area. When closed it means the accumulated fluid is trapped inside the uterus and as more and more excessive fluid is produced it may eventually cause the uterus to rupture. When the uterus walls rupture death may occur within 48 hours even with aggressive treatment. Therefore a closed pyometra is more fatal than open pyometra.

Clinical Signs Of Pyometra

Early symptoms of pyometra are hard to notice especially for closed pyometra. An pet with open case of the disease may be noticed by frequent licking of her vaginal area to keep it clean. Symptoms of both conditions include but not limited to depression, fever, increased thirst and urination. As the pet gets more and more ill, it may start to vomit, get very depressed and if left untreated the pet will get dehydrated, collapse or even die from toxic shock especially with closed pyometra.

How To Confirm And Treat Pyometra

A more accurate way of diagnosing pyometra is using x-rays and/or ultrasound and blood analysis. Usually pyrometra is treated by ovariohysterectomy, surgical removal of the reproductive organs – in this case removal of the uterus and ovaries. Ovariohysterectomy is preferred and usually the perfect solution in advanced pyometra. In not so serious cases and may be when the animal is needed in a breeding plan, the patient may be given antibiotics and intravenous (IV) fluids. Supportive care is also an important element.

Watch this very informative video by Dr. Karen Becker: