What is a Pyometra?
"Pyo" means Pus, and "Metra" means Uterus. Therefore Pyometra is a pus-filled, abscessed Uterus. When your pet has Pyometra, bacteria and toxins can leak into their bloodstream and cause life-threatening toxic effects. This can eventually lead to the uterus dying, which in turn releases a large amount of pus and dead tissue into the abdomen. If this is not treated your pet will Die.
Your Veterinarian may suspect that your pet has a Pyometra if they are brought in with certain signs and symptoms. First and foremost, the female pet is not spayed. A Pyometra can only happen in pets that ARE NOT spayed. They may be displaying symptoms such as loss of appetite, vomiting, drinking large amounts of water. You may notice that your pet has a discharge that has a very strong smell to it. (Just an FYI, any vaginal discharge from your pet needs to be checked by your Vet ASAP) If there is a discharge then more then likely your pet has what we call an "open-pyometra". The cervix is open and the contents from the uterus are dripping out. There is also something called a "closed-pyometra". There is no vaginal discharge with a closed-pyometra making it harder to clinically diagnose. Patients with a closed-pyometra tend to be a lot sicker then those with open-pyometras because their body is retaining all of the toxins.
If your Veterinarian suspects a closed-pyometra they will likely recommend doing Bloodwork, Xrays and an Ultrasound.
You may be wondering how your pet can get a Pyometra.. as stated before, they occur in female canines or felines that are not spayed. They tend to be older but it is not uncommon in young adult pets as well. When your pet goes into heat their uterine lining engorges as it readies itself for pregnancy. When they continuously go through heat cycles, some tissue may excessively engorge (cystic endometrial hyperplasia). Even though the uterus is sterile, the vagina below it is loaded with bacteria, which makes the engorged tissue ripe for infection. Bacteria can ascend from the vagina and then the uterus will become infected and eventually fill with pus. Hormonal effects of the tissue accumulate with each heat cycle. That is why Pyometras are more common in older pets.
The treatment that is most common for a Pyometra is to spay your pet. When removing the uterus it is crucial that the pus-filled uterus does not spill into the abdominal cavity. This surgery is extremely complicated and very challenging for the Veterinarian. Before this surgery is done your pet will need to be stabilized. This is done by hooking your pet up to an IV and starting antibiotics. Once your pet is stabilized enough for surgery, the doctor will proceed with sedation and an immediate emergency spay. After your pets surgery they will continue on antibiotics. They will also be sent home on a pain medication to help with any discomfort. Your pet will more then likely stay at their Veterinary Hospital for a couple days after this surgery.
This is just one of the reasons we highly suggest spaying your female pets. If a Pyometra is not treated then your pet will die. If you are interested in spaying your pet with us, please go over to our Spaying Your Pet page and you can read about how we go about the Spaying process.
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