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The Emergency Pyometra in Dogs: Risks, Symptoms + Treatment

August 20, 2019

Pyometra in dogs is a potentially
fatal condition that’s all too common in entire females it is one of the big
reasons why vets generally recommend all females should be spayed for those
unfortunate dogs that develop pyometra emergency life-saving surgery is the
best option to ensure a full recovery stick around to learn more by I’m dr.
Alex Avery from helping you and your pet to live a
healthier happier life Pyometra is an infection of the uterus of entire female
dogs which typically develops around middle-age or later now when we think of
an infection we will generally imagine that antibiotics in the main way we
treat and cure it it’s not so simple in this case in a dog with pyometra the
uterus essentially becomes like a giant pus filled balloon and there is no way
that the antibiotic can even control the infection let alone cure it it’s a bit
more complicated than that but first let’s go back to the beginning
while older individuals are at a much higher risk of developing pyometra it
can happen in young animals too who have not been spayed in fact this is one of
the major reasons for spaying in the first place with intact females having
around a 20 to 25 percent chance of developing this condition by the time
they reach 10 years old now this is a 1 in 4 chance there are reported
differences between breeds and in some breeds having a litter of pups may offer
some protection but for all entire female dugs there is a real risk of
developing pyometra and although the risk increases with age young
individuals can also be affected occasionally to hormonal treatment given
to prevent seasons or hormones given after accidental mating to prevent
pregnancy are also thought to increase the risk of a female dog developing
pyometra the death rate of pyometra is about five percent with treatment and
without treatment death should be considered as an almost certainty
so the typical pyometra occurs within two months of a season and there are a
number of things that you might notice in your dog they’re generally pretty
vague but they can include lethargy inappetence weakness vomiting diarrhea
and increased thirst increased urination and potentially also an enlarged abdomen
the clearest sign of a pyometra is the presence of pus draining out to the
vagina your dogs may keep themselves clean though and this discharge may not
be obvious when this takes place it is known as an open pyometra
because the open cervix allows this drainage if the cervix is closed though
this discharge won’t be seen and a closed pyometra develops in this instance
there is nowhere for the pus to drain and so the patient often becomes unwell
faster and is worse affected at the time of diagnosis any unwell entire
female dog should be considered to have a pyometra until proven otherwise but
how then will your vet diagnose this condition well a blood test is often
taken to check on general body health and this will give them some clues
x-rays can be useful and can give a diagnosis if the uterus is very enlarged
when a pyometra is small though or just starting x-rays are not very sensitive
and so a pyometra can be missed and the blood tests can similarly miss the
condition x-rays also cant distinguish early pregnancy from infection and this
is because the bones of a developing puppy only show up a couple of weeks
before birth ultrasound is the best method of diagnosis they can pick up the
condition at an earlier stage and can easily distinguish between pyometra and
pregnancy ultrasound is also risk free and quick when it is available once the
diagnosis is made quick treatment is needed to reduce the risk of the uterus
bursting as well as other serious toxic complications from taking place in all
patients antibiotics will be started a decision there needs to be made surgery
or medical treatment for any dog not wanting to be bred in the future a
complete ovariohysterectomy is the treatment of choice because it not only
cures the condition but it also prevents it from happening again depending on the
condition of the patient stabilization with intravenous fluids and medication
may be needed before going to surgery and it must be mentioned that any
anaesthetic or surgery carries a risk to the patient especially one who is older
and unwell despite this though in the majority of patients surgical treatment
is by far the best choice and the vast majority will recover really well after
a short hospitalization for patients who want to be bred later there is the
option of medical treatment for those who are severely unwell though surgical
removal of the uterus may in fact be safer this is because all the toxins and
inflammatory substances will be quickly removed and not able to continue
damaging the body it typically takes two to four days for medical treatment to
result in an improvement to the patient also for those with a
closed pyometra there is an increased risk of the uterus bursting which can be
catastrophic for those where drug treatment is desirable then there are
several different protocols which will depend on your vet’s own experience as
well as the drugs that are available at the time the reason for this is that not
all drugs are stocked by everyone especially if your vet doesn’t have a
big breeding client base the big drawbacks are medical treatment are time taken for an improvement to take place the risk of treatment failure and also
the significant risk that a pyometra will occur with up to 70% of patients
having a recurrence of a pyometra within two years now this means that breeding
should take place as soon as possible and once completed the patient should
ideally be spayed of course prevention is much better than cure
having a bitch spayed completely removes the risk of a pyometra so long as the
ovaries are completely removed this is because active ovaries are essential for
a pyometra to develop ovary sparing sterilization is not common and also
does nothing to remove the risk of a pyometra from developing as for when to
spay well this is a video for another day there is a lot of research going on
in this area and our standard dogmatic recommendations are being challenged so
watch this space as a final comment while pyometra can affect cats it is in
fact very uncommon so I hope this video answers the questions that you may have
had about this common condition but if you have any other questions or if there
are any comments that you’d like to leave I’d love to read them down in the
comment section below also if it’s your first time here consider subscribing to
this channel to make sure that you don’t miss out on future content and allow me
to continue to help you and your pet to live a healthier
here life so until next time i’m dr. alex from our pets health comm the best
care for every pet with every condition every time


  • Reply Our Pets Health February 17, 2018 at 2:39 am

    Learn all about the benefits as well as the risks of getting your female dog spayed here:

  • Reply lordmurch May 4, 2018 at 11:29 am

    Thank you

  • Reply saurabh3305 June 10, 2018 at 10:50 am

    How much percent is the chance of uterus bursting in closed pyometra? My dog is on antibiotics and the doctor has told to surgically remove the uterus….but till that time it can burst anytime…and what precautions should be taken to avoid this till the surgery is performed….she is 8 years old (mudhol hound)

  • Reply Simple Cooking With Tumpa June 19, 2018 at 5:12 pm

    If the kidney and liver has failed, hg 6, platelets 20000. She's become blind due to high uric acid. Can't stand anymore since last two days, she's been getting medicines injected and iv drip rl n dns since 2 days. I don't see any improvement though, so I want to ask if surgery can be still done, is that possible? What should we do

  • Reply Amanda Perez July 16, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    Thank you for all the information. What is your opinion about an older dog (15 yrs) having the surgery? It’s an open pyometra & she is a small dog (mut) most likely part shih tzu.
    It’s seems like the bleeding is slowing down. She’s been bleeding for a full week now. Currently waiting for surgery.

  • Reply nishal nishal July 21, 2018 at 8:13 am

    Hello, my dog (10+ yrs)is facing white discharge/open pyometra from past 1 month, we have tried giving tab but the end result led her to vomit it with what ever the food we give (even water) even tried the tab (taxim-o) which is an antibiotic! One day she ll be alright but the next day she ll be in the same stage ! Please please advice how to make her recover ,kindly advice some treatment

  • Reply Tipsy Tips September 4, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    Hi doctor. I have a 9 year and 6 old Dalmatian bitch. She is having open pyometra along with kidney infection (cretanine 1.79), respiratory problem and low blood pressure. At present she is not eating by herself and we are giving her saline with required medications. The doctors have advised surgery but only after 1 or 2 weeks. What do you think? Is surgery really required because I am afraid if things don't get worst for her. Please reply

  • Reply Lilia November 11, 2018 at 4:47 am

    Wow, very educational.. 😮

    My dog's breeder does tend to spay any bitches in her breeding program by around 5yrs old (or earlier if they will never be bred or done being bred) but is this something that can have an increased risk genetically or is the risk the same for all bitches?

  • Reply Ranjini Manuel November 13, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    What about treatment with prostaglandins?

  • Reply shazia noor ayesha January 15, 2019 at 2:30 pm

    I have a female dog (Labrador retriever) 7 and half years old. vet told us that she has pyometra and we have to do surgery but he’s saying the chances are 50/50 her to be alive. My mom is a doctor too she’s an mbbs doctor. she is telling the vet to give her antibiotics and Iv fluids and not perform surgery because she is scared of losing her. Could you please suggest anything what to do???? I don’t want to lose her😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭

  • Reply paulo te February 4, 2019 at 11:04 pm

    so what are the chances of surviving after the surgery?

  • Reply John Boona March 31, 2019 at 3:15 am

    My dog died because of this. I thought she was just pregnant. Rip.

  • Reply Harpreet Kaur April 16, 2019 at 6:28 am

    Sir my dog expire 10 hrs after surgery what could be the reason

  • Reply Onnie Arceo May 1, 2019 at 8:18 am

    i have a 13 yrs old lhasa apso and her kidney was damaged and she have pyometra now what is the best way to do?

  • Reply Gulu Sagolsem June 22, 2019 at 5:17 am

    Hello sir i have 2 dog st.bernard and American bully which is female my two dog they discharge white in colour fom around 6 month but they did not drink too much of water what shall i do now

  • Reply jake cullen July 13, 2019 at 2:39 pm

    Changed my view on desexing very well made video

  • Reply kathlyn pineda July 27, 2019 at 7:56 am

    How about avideo about heartworms?😔

  • Reply Thanos Vines August 16, 2019 at 2:31 pm

    Pls reply my dog is 19 kilos and they opened it and after it 2 days later some fluid is coming out from the wound that is not fully healed sry for bad english

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