Pyometra is a disease characterized by purulent inflammation of the uterus. And this pathology can occur even in an animal that has never given birth, which is very surprising to the owner of the animal. Pyometra in dogs and cats develops equally, according to statistics, every fourth bitch suffers from purulent endometritis. There is no dependence on belonging to the breed, age (although females older than 5 years are more often ill).
Causes of pyometra
The exact mechanism of the disease has not yet been established. Therefore, the main reason for the development of pyometra in an animal is considered to be a hormonal failure, against which the endothelium of the uterus becomes too vulnerable to bacterial infection. It is the bacteria that lead to the appearance of pus.
The same hormonal failure often occurs during the period of diestrus (in the heat). This is when the concentration of the hormone progesterone in the blood is highest. Do not forget about the “miracle”-drugs that suppress hunting in Pets. These are pure hormones that provoke hyperplasia (degeneration) of the endothelium, which can also lead to the development of cystic hyperplasia of the endometrium (the mucous membrane lining the uterine cavity) and pyometre.
Most often suffer from pyometra females older than five years of age, but younger individuals may fall into the risk group. This pathology can develop in bitches who gave birth, and in those who gave birth irregularly, and even in those who never became a mother and did not even get married.
Symptoms of pyometra
Pyometra in sick dogs and cats can be of 2 types: open and closed. In one case, the cervix is open and the contents can “come out”, which makes it easier to make a diagnosis. In the second case, the neck is tightly closed, and all the “nasty things” remain inside the uterus, which is why the owner may not immediately notice that the beloved beauty is sick.
A clear sign of pyometra in cats and dogs is the appearance of purulent, purulent-catarrhal (mucous) and bloody-purulent discharge from the vagina. Usually, pus begins to secrete about a month or two after the end of estrus. Moreover, mating as such may not be.
In addition to this obvious symptom, there are other signs: lethargy, lack of appetite, fever, increased thirst (in science, this phenomenon is called polydipsia), as well as vomiting and diarrhea. If the animal remains untreated for a long time, anorexia (exhaustion) and sepsis (blood poisoning) develop, which will cause the death of the beloved pet.
In addition to noticeable clinical symptoms, additional diagnostic tests must be performed. For example, a General blood test will reveal neutrophilic leukocytosis with a shift to the left, moderate normochromic anemia.
A biochemical blood test will reveal an increase in ALT and AST (this jump is recorded in severe dehydration and sepsis), and the concentration of protein and globulin in the blood increases (in scientific terms, this is hyperglobulinemia and hyperproteinemia).
In order not to confuse the pyometra in a dog or cat with purulent inflammation of the vagina, it is necessary to conduct an x-ray and ultrasound examination. The veterinarian diagnoses the enlargement of the uterus and the presence of foreign contents in its cavity (not characteristic of pregnancy). On ultrasound, the veterinarian will be able to see endometrial hyperplasia.
Treatment of an animal with pyometra
Treatment of dogs and cats with pyometra should begin only after confirmation of the diagnosis. Most often, doctors resort to surgical therapy – removal of the uterus and ovaries. This is considered the most safe for the animal’s life, because it can be extremely difficult to cure a pet. The risk of a dog or cat developing septicaemia is too high.
If, during the removal of the uterus, pus has been poured into the abdominal cavity, then veterinary surgeons will wash the abdominal cavity with sterile solutions to prevent the patient from peritonitis. Surgical intervention is most often necessary for the closed type of pyometra. With the open form (especially in the initial stage), it is a little easier: it is possible to save the organs of the reproductive system.
In purebred animals whose owners want to preserve the uterus of the animal and the ability to receive offspring from it, there is a possibility to resort to conservative medical treatment. However, only the veterinarian should decide which therapy to resort to, and whether there will be dangerous complications if you start medication, postponing the operation.
Remember that if there is pus, then there are also bacteria that can spread very quickly with the blood flow throughout the body of a weakened pet.
Be sure to prescribe antibiotic therapy. While a bacteriological study of pus is being conducted and the sensitivity of microorganisms from it to antibacterial drugs is being determined, the veterinarian will prescribe broad-spectrum drugs. Based on the results of the study, the treatment regimen can be changed to achieve a positive result faster.
Prostoglandins are also prescribed, but their use is not so safe. They lead to a reduction in the muscles of the uterus, which can lead to the rupture of its inflamed walls or the release of purulent contents into the abdominal cavity (through the fallopian tubes).
This will lead to peritonitis and death of the pet. however, prostoglandins help to return the uterus to its original state, restore its tone. Therefore, all treatment should be under the supervision of a veterinarian.
The insidiousness of this disease is that after the next estrus (even if pregnancy occurs), the pyometra can develop again. It is characterized by relapses. Therefore, no matter how much you want to preserve the reproductive function of your pet, the best solution is to extirpate (remove) the uterus and appendages. And definitely noticing the symptoms characteristic pyometra in the dog, as soon as possible contact the veterinary clinic for help.
After learning what a pyometra is, what are the symptoms and treatment, you need to understand what postoperative care is required for the animal. Recovery of the pet depends on the severity of the disease, the age and state of immunity of the four-legged friend, the presence of complications and other “layered” diseases. Most often care is in the handling of seams, the introduction of antibiotics (preferably intramuscular), as well as in the diet.
Remember that after removing the uterus, your pet is considered sterilized. And, therefore, it should eat accordingly, as it should be sterilized animals. To prevent the female from tearing the seams, take care of the postoperative blanket or a special collar that will not allow you to reach the wound.
If you notice blood or pus flowing out of the wound, strongly swollen and compacted edges, soreness, you should immediately contact a veterinary specialist to avoid postoperative complications.
Prevention of pyometra
It is much easier to prevent the disease than to treat the pet later, to provide competent care for a sick four-legged friend. Therefore, if you do not plan to breed animals, then take care in advance – take the animal to the clinic, let it be sterilized before the first heat. Believe me, from sterilization, the health benefits of the female are much greater than from the preserved ability to give birth.
Hi, my name is Mike Fletcher. I am 36 years old and a veterinarian at a veterinary clinic in Granby Colorado. And this is my blog about Pets. I hope I can answer your questions here.