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Pyometra ~ A Very Serious Condition

Most dogs and cats suffering from pyometra are presented because of loss of energy, increased thirst and poor appetite. Plus a good tip-off would be a foul smelling, purulent (means pus) vaginal discharge. Most of the cases of pyometra I’ve seen in dogs  occurred about six weeks after the bitch’s last heat cycle. They may not look it on the outside, but on the inside these dogs are really sick! If that swollen, enlarged uterus happens to rupture internally, the dog will rapidly go into endotoxic shock and whatever the veterinarian does may not be enough to save the dog.

Normally, even in a large dog, the uterine horns aren’t much thicker than a pencil. When pyometra is present the uterus looks and feels more like a stuffed venison sausage. I’ve removed eight-pound uteruses that should have weighed no more than eight ounces!

For whatever reason, if your female dog or cat hasn’t been spayed be alert for pyometra. The X-ray of uterus in the abdomen… Click To Enlarge condition is more probable in females eight years or older and who experience infrequent or irregular heat cycles or episodes of false pregnancy. Poor appetite, increased thirst, poor stamina and vaginal discharge are cardinal signs. And some patients’ white blood cell count can go from a normal of 9,000 all the way up to 75,000. X-rays often reveal two large sausage-like structures in the abdomen.  It’s time for surgery! These patients should almost always be operated on right now, not after work, not in the morning, not after a few days of antibiotics “to build her up.”

The surgery is not a minor procedure. A patient with a uterus swollen with a foul and putrid soup, is simply carrying a bucket of poison that would eventually kill the cat or dog. Many of these patients require I.V. fluid therapy, antibiotics and nutritional support post-operatively. These pyometra patients, once recovered, act like puppies once their near death experience is over! *T. J. Dunn, Jr.  DVM



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