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Dog Pyometra and Uterine or Womb Infections

Apr 14, 2008
The symptoms to look out for in case of suspected Dog Pyometra or uterine/womb infections are the following:

1. Loss of appetite 2. The dog is urinating and drinking more water than usual 3. Diarrhea and vomiting. 4. Only happens in female dogs and usually ones that are older or middle aged. 5. An open cervix, that is when a dog is in heat or season, may result in pus discharge from the vagina. This may be hard to notice as the dog may usually lick this off.

Pyometra will only happen or initiate during the dog's season or heat because when a female dog reaches this time it releases eggs from its ovaries which are used for fertilisation. Then, if the dog gets mated and the egg becomes fertilised by the sperm, the bitch will become pregnant and an embryo will develop. After this, these embryos will travel into the dog's womb where they will stay for up to about seven days for a placenta to develop. Once the placenta is developed it will attach itself to the side of the womb allowing the embryos to have food and oxygen from the mother. During the time the embryo is not attached to the placenta, the wall of the womb produces a fluid to accommodate for the lack of food and oxygen and to help the placenta grow.

When cells that attach themselves with the line of the womb and produce food and oxygen for the embryo become overactive and start producing too much fluid it causes pyometra. Stray bacteria from the body find this as the idea environment to breed. Over time, this worsens and turns into an infection.

When the dog's body realises that it has been infected and discovers this infection it releases thousands of white blood cells in order to fight the infection. As the white blood cells combat this infection those that have done their job will die and form the puss. In large quantities, puss can be very toxic to the dog's body and can make them very sick.

The dog will drink more water in order to flush this unwanted puss out. Drinking more water than usual will cause more urinating, vomiting and diarrhea and if the dog is still in season it may also cause a discharge through the vaginal area. Open cervix pyometra occurs when a dogs vagina is still open and leakage of unwanted puss is possible where as closed cervix pyometra occurs when the dog is out of season and thus the unwanted puss cannot leak out of the vagina in which case the puss builds up inside the dog and worsens the toxic effects.

The symptoms in your dog will start off as being mild and barely noticeable but over time they will start getting worse and reach a point where the toxins in the dog's body will cause it to collapse. Hence, the earlier you visit the vet and get treatment the better and safer the cure will be.

If your dog has been infected by open cervix pyometra the vet may want to know when your dog was last in season. If this was within the last two months or so and the dog had all the symptoms listed above such as diarrhea, drinking more water, vaginal discharge and vomiting it will confirm that the dog has been infected.

The symptoms get harder to prove if the dog has closed cervix pyometra because of no vaginal discharge. The vet will probably look out for a slightly sagging belly and if the other symptoms listed above also occur this will confirm their suspicion. Furthermore, the vet may also use ultrasound or X-ray in order to look for an enlarged womb and confirm whether the dog is infected by this condition or not.

After the vet has confirmed that your dog is infected by pyometra intravenous fluids via a drip line and antibiotics will be used to get the dog as healthy as possible before performing surgery. The surgery will consist of removing the diseased womb and ovaries and will be very similar to routine sterilisation although there will be a higher risk involved because of the illness of the dog and because all the toxins that have been built up inside of the dogs body will need to be removed completely after the surgery in order to avoid any damage or possible infections to the kidneys.

After the surgery the dog will be left on antibiotics and intravenous fluids so that any remaining toxins can be killed off. Once it seems as though the dog is recovering and eating and drinking consistently your vet will discharge the dog so it can go home and recover.

It may be important to note that in high value breeding dogs or in rare breeds the vet may make an effort and try to save the dog's womb and ovaries so it can continue breeding but this procedure is highly risky and can have further side effects that may end up worsening the dog's condition.
About the Author
For more information on Dog Pyometra or Dog Health take a look at this Dog Training website.
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