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image of jack russell in garden for article on pyometra

Life-saving reason every dog owner should consider spaying their pet

A pet owner who almost lost her dog to a 'hidden killer' is backing vets’ calls to get dogs spayed to save others from the deadly danger.

Nine-year-old Jack Russell-Chihuahua Lola needed lifesaving surgery at Lawrence Veterinary Centre in Nottingham, part of My Family Vets, after developing a pyometra, a serious infection of the uterus.

As female dogs get older, they are prone to developing the condition if they haven’t been spayed, which involves removing their ovaries and uterus. Pyometra is responsible for many tragic deaths each year.

Now owner Andrea Clifton, from Nottingham, is urging fellow owners to follow vets’ advice in this article for young dogs to be spayed to help prevent the killer condition.

“When I got Lola, she had a hernia, which I thought might cause complications, so I never got her spayed,” said Andrea.

“The vets mentioned that she wasn’t spayed each time she was in for her vaccinations so I knew it could be a problem, but there weren’t any issues until recently.

“Lola started going off her food and wasn’t keen on moving much. You know when your dog isn’t right, and she really wasn’t herself.”

Andrea took Lola to Lawrence Vets for a check up and her age and condition immediately rang alarm bells.

“When Lola came in, she was very depressed, lethargic and had been drinking a lot,” said vet Angie Hardy

“The clinical signs pointed to a pyometra and when we did an ultrasound scan it showed her uterus was very enlarged and full of pus. We also did a blood test, as there can be side effects on the kidneys, and she had a very high white blood cell count.

“It would have been fatal for Lola, so we had to act quickly to operate. The bacteria in a pyometra release a lot of toxins and can also lead to septicaemia. Operating on a such a sick patient is not without risk, but it was definitely required in this case.”

Andrea faced an anxious wait but thankfully the operation was a success and the pyometra was safely removed. It was almost half a kilo, or a tenth of little Lola’s 5kg weight.

She was allowed home later that day and after some loving nursing care she was back to her old self within a week.

“Any female dog that is not being used for breeding should be spayed,” said Angie. “Your vet will be able to advise the best age for each breed. It’s best done when the dog is young, fit and healthy.”

The warning has the full support of Andrea who feared for her dog’s life.

“It was very scary and if I get another female dog, I will definitely get her spayed straight away,” she said. “I’ve been warning everyone I can and friends and family who haven’t had their dogs spayed are going to get it done.

“I wouldn’t want anyone to have to go through what I did.”

Lawrence Vets is part of My Family Vets, a nationwide network of veterinary practices and referral hospitals.

Owners who join its Pet Health Club plan receive a discount on spaying — and are also covered for regular, routine treatments such as vaccinations, health checks and flea, worm and parasite treatments.