Womb infection in dogs: spotting the symptoms of Pyometra in dogs
Womb infections, also known as Pyometra or Pyo for short, are fairly common in unneutered female dogs.
Is your female dog yet to be neutered? Does she seem lethargic or thirsty?
Let’s take a closer look at womb infection in dogs – the causes of Pyometra, how to spot the signs/symptoms and what to do if you’re concerned about your pet.
What is Pyometra?
Pyometra refers to a bacterial infection of the womb (uterus). The infection causes the womb to fill with pus, and is highly dangerous. If not diagnosed and treated quickly, womb infections can be fatal.
Pyometra mostly affects unneutered female dogs. The risk of infection is one of many reasons that vets recommend neutering.
What causes it?
Each time a bitch comes into season, she undergoes hormonal changes. One of these changes includes thickening of the lining of the womb. The more seasons a bitch goes through, the thicker the lining of the womb becomes, meaning that the likelihood of a womb infection increases with age.
Read more: Dog in heat! A guide to your dog’s first season.
Pyometra is usually caused by excessive amounts of bacteria entering the womb and embedding in the thickened lining. This causes infection, which can lead to blood poisoning (sepsis).
Symptoms are most likely to occur after the bitch finishes her season. If your bitch is unneutered, it’s important to pay close attention at this time – symptoms can be difficult to spot and may not be obvious until your dog is very sick.
Symptoms of Pyometra include:
- Tiredness or lethargy
- Increased thirst (which may increase to the point of dehydration)
- Vaginal discharge (which can appear bloody, brownish or creamy)
- Reluctance to move or stand up
- Vomiting and anorexia
Like most conditions or illnesses, the dog’s chances of survival are far greater if Pyometra is treated early on. If you’re concerned about your dog’s welfare, especially if she’s just finished her season, contact your vet as soon as you can.
Treatment for womb infections will most likely involve surgery. The ovaries and infected uterus will need to be removed.
Most dogs make a full recovery after surgery, but the risks of operating on a sick pet are far greater than operating on a healthy one. They may need fluid therapy, antibiotics and pain relief, but generally the chances of success are far higher when the condition is caught early.
A successful spaying procedure will remove the uterus and ovaries entirely – eliminating the risk of infection altogether.
If you don’t plan to breed from your bitch, we strongly advise that you have her spayed at a young age. This will reduce the risk of several infections, illnesses and of course, unwanted pregnancies!
Read more: Dog neutering: what you need to know.
Need more info?
For more help and advice on womb infection in dogs, the benefits of neutering or any other aspect of your dog’s welfare, have a chat with your local vet.