What is a pyometra?
Pyometra is the life-threatening infection of the uterus that generally occurs in middle-aged to older female dogs in the six weeks following heat. The hormone progesterone, which primes the uterus for potential pregnancy, does so by causing proliferation of the blood-filled uterine lining and suppressing uterine immune function. It is thus easy during heat for bacteria in the vagina to ascend to the uterus and cause infection. The uterus with pyometra swells dramatically and is filled with pus, bacteria, dead tissue, and toxins. Without treatment, the dog is expected to die. Despite her severe medical state, she must be spayed quickly if her life is to be saved.
How can I prevent my dog from getting a pyometra?
The only prevention for pyometra is spaying your female dog. At Clarkson Village Animal Hospital, we typically suggest spaying your female dog at six months of age, preferably before her first heat cycle.
What are the benefits of spaying your dog?
- Helps to prevent mammary cancer; after the first heat, this incidence climbs to 7%, and after the second heat the risk is 25% (one in four). It is easy to see that an early spay can completely prevent what is frequently a very difficult and potentially fatal form of cancer.
- Pyometra prevention
- Prevents unplanned litters
If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to call our hospital at 905-855-2100.
Written by Caity, CCR