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Pyometra In Dogs – Symptoms & Treatments

Pyometra In Dogs

Pyometra is a poly-systemic, dioestrual disorder that is hormonally mediated, distinguished by cystic endometrial hyperplasia (CEH) with infiltration of inflammatory cells due to secondary bacterial infection. Pyometra is reported primarily in older, sexually intact female dogs (>8 yr old), a few weeks after the last heat cycle (estrus).

Pyometra do not occur in spayed animals, since a spay surgery involves removing the uterus. It may be more common in dogs that have never had puppies.

Pyometra VS metritis: Metritis is defined as inflammation of the endometrium lining of the uterus that develops in the immediate postpartum period and occasionally after abortion, miscarriage, or breeding. But, pyometra is an infection of the uterus unrelated to pregnancy.

Acute pyometra: This occurs suddenly and produces evident signs.

Chronic pyometra: Persistent inflammation and produce no noticeable signs or mild symptoms.

The bacteria that is most often responsible for uterus infection is ubiquitous, commensal, gram-negative bacteria like Escherichia coli (sometimes staphylococci and Proteus sp).

Chronic and extreme pyometra inflammation is associated with a fatal response triggered by diverse forms of tissue injury termed systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) and this can be a life-threatening condition.

Symptoms Of Pyometra

Open pyometra:

  • Bad smelling vaginal discharge (with or without pus)
  • Fever
  • Anorexia
  • Lethargy

Closed Pyometra

  • Pale, gray gums
  • Dehydration
  • Swollen abdomen (like dough)
  • Decreased appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased heart rate (systemic bacterial infection)
  • Reluctancy to move (in latter stages)
  • Panting

Treatment Options For Pyometra

  • Antibiotics - cephalexin, cefpodoxime, ceftiofur, etc.
  • Intravenous fluid and electrolyte therapy to restore and maintain fluid and electrolyte levels.
  • Treatment options include oxytocin (Pitocin, Syntocinon) or F and E series prostaglandins – to stimulate contraction of the uterus. Synthetic analogs (eg, prostalene, cloprostenol, and fluprostenol) are also used.
  • Ovariohysterectomy (spaying) is most often the treatment of choice to remove Ovaries and uterus. This surgical removal takes about a maximum of 45 minutes and has little or no risk. There will be no pain and dogs feel only a little discomfort.

Home Remedies For Pyometra

  • There is no specific home care for pyometra; this disease requires suitable veterinary care.
  • When the proper diagnosis is done, make sure your pet is provided with all prescribed medication.
  • Your veterinarian may prescribe the proper food regimen required to keep your pet as healthy as possible.

Prevention Of Pyometra

Early detection is the only way of prevention. Awareness about triggering of pyometra in female dogs will help the pet owners to prevent this type of inflammation.

As metritis is a uterine disease, spaying your dog spayed actually the suggested method of treatment in most cases because it takes away the risk of future or recurring infection.

Affected Breeds Of Pyometra

Collie, Rottweiler, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Golden Retriever, Bernese Mountain Dog, English Cocker Spaniel, Female Dogs, Airedale Terrier, Alaskan Malamute, Bull Terrier, Doberman Pinscher, Great Dane, Irish Wolfhound

Additional Facts For Pyometra

1. Causes:

  • Sexually intact dogs a few weeks after the last heat cycle (estrus).
  • Administration of long-lasting progestational drugs to suppress estrus or administration of estrogens to mismated female dogs.
  • administration of estrogens post copulation or post insemination infections or for prevention of pregnancy.
  • Postpartum endometritis- Inflammation of the endometrium lining of the uterus after giving birth.
  • Fecal contamination and/or Poor hygiene in the vagina.
  • Urinary tract infections.

2. Types:

Open Pyometra: cervix remains open and infectious material drains out from the uterus; cream, yellowish or bloody discharge nears the opening of the uterus or in places where they rest.

Closed pyometra:Closed cervix pyometra is typically more difficult to diagnose and results in a more severe illness than the open type. All the infected contents are locked inside the uterus and the toxins released by bacteria are absorbed into the bloodstream.

Stump pyometra: In rare cases, a spayed dog will develop this type of pyometra. After spaying, a small womb stump remains inside the dog, in which an infection can develop. Since ovary hormones are necessary for this condition to develop, any pup with stump pyometra also has a small piece of ovary tissue inside her which was not obvious at the time of spay.

3. Mortality:

If left untreated, Pyometra has lethal consequences and despite the best possible treatment protocols the mortality rate is 4%.

4. Diagnosis:

  • Complete physical exam
  • Complete blood count (CBC), blood chemistry profile
  • Electrolyte panel
  • Urinalysis
  • Bacterial and fungal culture
  • Vaginal cytology and culture

5. Prognosis:

The prognosis is really good mild pyometra. As the existing condition is life-threatening, rigorous treatment is usually necessary. However, relapse is possible following medical treatment in affected dogs. Proper hygiene and home care are the best defenses against future recurrences.

When To See A Vet

Contact your vet right away, if you notice any of the following:

  • Bad smelling vaginal discharge (with or without pus)
  • Dough like swollen abdomen

Food Suggestions For Pyometra

  • Commercial foods should have high-quality, natural ingredients, with no artificial additives.
  • Add fiber to your pup’s diet.
  • Brown rice, lukewarm (never hot) chicken soup with Low sodium or chicken breast, and cooked vegetables are perfect for the ailing pup.
  • Add a couple of spoonfuls of salmon, tuna, mackeral, anchovies or another fish product to your dog’s food.
  • Meat-flavored baby food or bland food.
  • Semi-moist pet food with boiled chicken.
  • Increase water intake or install a pet water fountain.


Generally, early detection during the acute phase and proper treatment results in a good prognosis.

The chronic phase of the disease carries a more guarded prognosis but it can be good if there is no systemic inflammation.

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