Pyometra in Dogs Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
Pyometra in dogs is an infection of the uterus. It is a life-threatening disease, common in older female spayed dogs. It can also occur in female dogs that have not been spayed at any age. The disease can also be seen in other female species, such as cats, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and ferrets.
What causes Pyometra in Dogs?
Pyometra in dogs is a secondary infection caused by hormonal and structural changes in the uterus and reproductive tract. Every time a female dog has a heat or season (estrus), she undergoes all the common hormonal changes that prepare her for pregnancy. During this period, white blood cells are kept away from the uterus, to prevent them from fighting the dog´s sperms. After two months, the lining of the uterus is still thick, preparing for pregnancy and fetal development.
After several of these cycles without pregnancy, the thickness of this linen continues to increase until cysts are formed. This thickened linen secretes a fluid and creates an environment suitable for bacteria. Besides this, the muscles in the wall of the uterus are inhibited by progesterone, preventing them from contracting and expelling these fluids or bacteria.
This can happen at any age. However, chances of the infection become common as the dog ages.
What are the symptoms?
If you think that your dog might be suffering from Pyometra, you must monitor for symptoms. Remember that if your dog is old, she has higher chances of getting sick. These are some of the symptoms that Pyometra in dogs might cause:
- Appetite loss
- Licking her back more than the usual
- Drinking more water than usual
- Fever (may not be present)
- Lethargy (may not be present)
- Depression (may not be present)
The symptoms above are also common to many other dog diseases so they could be misleading. There are signals that belong to Pyometra only and they are:
What is the treatment for Pyometra in Dogs?
It is very important to take quick action after Pyometra has been diagnosed. Unfortunately, most of the time, the infection is well spread by the time it is diagnosed. Antibiotics and intravenous fluid are prescribed. After this, surgery is the treatment of choice.
The doctor removes the dog´s uterus. This surgery is more complicated than a simple spay. There is more risk involved and recovery time is longer. Your dog will be prescribed pain relief to help with postoperative care.
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