May 8, 2020 – Pyometra

I have seen 3 very sick animals requiring emergency surgery over the last week. I would like to educate you on this condition, and why it is so important to be aware of the risk factors.

Pyometra comes from ancient Greek: “pyo” meaning pus; “metra” meaning uterus. So a pyometra in an animal is literally a uterus full of pus.

Uterus full of pus from a 70 lb lab.

How does this happen? The cervix is the muscle that closes the uterus and keep out bacteria. Every time an animal has a heat cycle, the cervix opens to allow fertilization from a male. Then it closes back. Any foreign material or bacteria that manages to enter the uterus during an estrus cycle can cause an infection of the uterine lining.

Pyometra commonly occurs in intact female dogs. It can also occur in cats, although not as commonly.

This is from a 9 month old kitten.

The best way to prevent a pyometra is to have the female spayed – which is technically an ovariohysterectomy. This is surgical removal of both the ovaries and uterus.

When dogs do get a pyometra, it is a life-threatening condition. The uterus can get so stretched out that it can rupture, spilling pus and infection in to the abdomen. This will cause septicemia, which is generalized infection moving into the bloodstream and throughout the body. Septicemia can cause death and often does.

This is a rupturing uterus.
You can see the omentum (the “webbing”) attached to the uterus. It is plugging a hole.

Pyometra often goes undetected until the dog is so sick that the uterus is in danger of rupturing.

If you have a female that is not spayed, you need to immediately report any sickness to your veterinarian and have your pet seen.

This uterus weighed 5 pounds.

It is a lot safer and more cost effective to have your female spayed as a routine procedure rather than a life threatening one.

This is what was inside the uterus. If this opens and spills into the pet’s abdomen, it can cause death from septicemia.

Speaking of emergencies, please have a savings account for your pet’s emergency situations. The most frustrating thing we deal with is not being able to treat an animal because the owner has not had the foresight to prepare for an emergency.

It is expensive to pay a full staff of veterinarians, veterinary nurses, kennel workers, and receptionists 24 hours a day, on holidays, and on weekends. Your ER staff is hardworking and dedicated. You can’t expect them to provide excellent care if you can’t pay for it. No one else in our culture is expected to work for free or reduce their rates because the client doesn’t have enough money.

So please either purchase pet insurance or save money every month into a jar or a separate bank account for your pet’s unforeseen problems. And please keep them up to date on routine preventive care. Many, many things we see on emergency could have been prevented with regular veterinary visits and following your vet’s recommendations.

Please spray your pets to avoid this condition!

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