Pyometra in Dogs | 5 an avoidable risk for your female dog

Pyometra in dogs is often the result of hormonal changes in breeding dogs. After oestrus (“heat”) in a dog, progesterone levels remain elevated for eight to ten weeks. It thickens the lining of the uterus in preparation for pregnancy. If pregnancy does not occur for several oestrus cycles, the lining continues to grow in thickness.

Additionally, high progesterone levels, according to pet experts, inhibit the ability of the muscles in the uterine wall to contract.
If the cause is not treated, the infection can spread systemically to a female dog and is potentially fatal.

What is Pyometra?

Pyometra is an infection of the uterus, a female dog’s reproductive organ. This infection causes the uterus to fill with pus. And the infection can spread systemically, leading to sepsis. Is. After estrus (“heat”), progesterone levels remain high for 8–10 weeks, and the lining of the uterus thickens in preparation for pregnancy.

Pyometra usually occurs in older intact female dogs and will begin several weeks after the heat cycle. It develops due to increased hormonal stimulation from the uterus and introduced bacteria. Pyometra can be recognized by abnormal discharge from the vulva, excessive thirst, panting, weight loss, lethargy, and sometimes abdominal distention. Underlying causes of pyometra include previous incorrect injections, urinary tract infections and poor hygiene.


There are two types of pyometra – open and closed.

Open pyometra: is named for the condition in which the cervix remains open. And the infection exits the uterus through the vagina. A classic sign of open pyometra is a purulent, foul-smelling discharge from the vulva.

In closed pyometra, the cervix is ​​​​sealed, and the infection becomes trapped in the uterus. Closed pyometra will progress faster and more severely because infectious secretions accumulate inside the uterus without any defence. As no discharge is visible, the diagnosis is easy to miss.

How can I prevent my dog ​​from getting pyometra?

It is estimated that one in four older female dogs will suffer from pyometra, but you can completely prevent it by neutering your dog.

Symptoms of Pyometra in Dogs

The early signs may not always be obvious, but a female dog may be food-borne, lethargic or thirsty. Sometimes pets have vaginal discharge. But not in all cases. As the infection progresses, your pet may become ill and reluctant to move.

Bloody or mucous vaginal discharge (may or may not be present)

Lethargy or low energy

Drinking more alcohol and urinating more


Anorexia (decreased or absent appetite)

The heat cycle can last longer

Licking the vulva more than usual

Swollen or painful abdomen

Weakness or collapse

Serous vaginal discharge, usually containing blood and pus and vaginal licking.

Abdominal distension

Uterus infection in dogs

A bacterial infection causes pyometra within the uterus. The most common cause is Escherichia coli (E. coli), commonly found in faeces. Infection of the uterus usually occurs a few weeks after the female dog’s heat cycle. This fills the uterus with pus, and foul-smelling vaginal discharge may be present in the female dog.

In most cases of pyometra, the pus remains trapped inside the uterus. If left untreated, this type of infection can lead to sepsis, dehydration, kidney failure, and even the death of a female dog.

Pictures of pyometra in dogs

Pictures of pyometra in dogs

When to contact your vet

Contact your vet for an immediate appointment if you notice that your dog is showing signs of pyometra. A pyometra is an emergency, and your dog has the best chance of survival if he receives prompt treatment. You know your dog best; it is always best to contact your vet if you are concerned.

How is Pyometra Treated in Dogs?

Treatment of pyometra can be either medical or surgical and depends on the severity of the disease. Pyometra can be prevented in canines with elective ovariohysterectomy (spay surgery), which is recommended in young female dogs.

A vet will first ask questions such as when was your dog’s last season, is she cleaning herself around her vulva more often, and how has she been acting lately.

They may do an ultrasound of your dog’s abdomen to check for swelling.

The preferred treatment is to remove the uterus and ovaries surgically. This is called an ovariohysterectomy (“spy”).

Pyometra surgery

The surgery is only slightly more complicated than a regular spay. However, most dogs are diagnosed when they are quite ill, so surgery is not as routine as surgery in a healthy dog.

Dog discharge pyometra discharge

A drip: Fluid drips may be needed to keep your dog hydrated.

Surgery: Your dog will need emergency surgery to remove the pyometra.

Medicines: With surgery, your dog may need pain relievers and antibiotics.

Hormones: Some dogs will receive hormonal treatment to help treat pyometra but treating with medications alone is extremely risky and is not recommended.

Buster Collar: Your vet will put a buster collar on your dog to prevent them from licking the wound; make sure they keep it on unless your vet says otherwise.

Keep calm: You will need to keep your dog calm to ensure they do not damage their stitches, especially the internal ones that seal the blood vessels.

Medicines: Give your dog all their prescribed medications and call your vet if you are struggling – there may be alternatives. Our medication timetable may be helpful.

Pain: You must monitor your dog’s pain level and speak to your vet if you are concerned.

Cost of pyometra in dogs

The cost of treatment will depend on the severity of the infection and the need for medical management or surgical treatment.

Medical management with prostaglandin injections will cost between $220 – $500, depending on the amount needed and the duration of treatment. Antibiotics will cost around $50 – $150 for a two-week course. If intravenous fluid therapy is deemed necessary by the veterinarian, this would be an additional $160 – $300. Occasionally, subcutaneous (under the skin) fluid therapy will suffice, usually around $55 – $90.

Surgical removal of the uterus is a more intensive treatment and thus carries a higher cost. An ovariohysterectomy costs approximately $1200 – $2800, including all surgical and anaesthetic fees. The cost of pyometra spray (compared to an alternative spray in a healthy animal) is higher due to the presence and increased risk of infection; The surgery is more complicated and takes longer.

Pyometra in dogs FAQ

What other factors contribute to the development of pyometra?

Injections of estrogen (for prevention of pregnancy after intercourse)
Administration of progesterone to delay estrus
urinary tract infections
Poor vaginal hygiene and stool contamination
Postpartum metritis

Is there anything else that can be done for pyometra other than surgery?

There are some important statistics about the treatment that you should know:
The success rate of treating open cervical pyometra is 75-90%.
The success rate of treatment of closed cervical pyometra is 25-40%.
The recurrence rate of the disease is 50-75%.
The probability of successful breeding in the future is 50-75%.

Can pyometra be treated with antibiotics?

Treating pyometra with drugs (antibiotics, hormones, and anti-inflammatories) alone is not recommended. Removal of the infected womb is the most effective treatment. Using drugs alone is risky and can lead to serious illness, prolonged suffering, and death.

What happens if none of the above treatments is given?

The chances of successful treatment without surgery or prostaglandin treatment are extremely low. If treatment is not done quickly, the toxic effect from the bacteria will be fatal. If the cervix is ​​closed, it is also possible for the uterus to rupture, allowing the infection to spread to the abdominal cavity. It would also be fatal.

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