Pyometra – womb infection
April 6, 2022
We regularly see a potentially fatal condition here at Rowan Vets, one which can be avoided if a pet is neutered. As part of #nationalpetmonth and #responsiblepetownership, neutering your pet can protect them.
Cats and dogs are susceptible to what is called Pyometra, a serious and life threatening infection of the uterus.
Pyometra is caused by a secondary infection which occurs because of hormonal changes in the reproductive system. Following estrus (heat), progesterone is elevated for up to two months and causes the lining of the uterus to thicken in preparation for pregnancy. If the pet does not become pregnant for several consecutive heat cycles, the uterine lining continues to increase in thickness until cysts form within the tissue. This cystic lining secretes fluids that create the perfect environment for bacterial growth.
The bacteria can’t be expelled because the muscles in the uterus cannot contract properly because the uterus wall is so thick and this thickening also inhibits white blood cells from entering the uterus to help fight the growing infection.
As you can see from the images, a normal uterus weighs anything from 2 ounces to 4 ounces when it is healthy. An infected uterus becomes swollen and pus filled, weighing much more.
See the differences HERE
It’s useful to know that this infection usually occurs two to eight weeks after the last estrus. If the cervix remains open, a sign of infection might be:
- Pus or an abnormal discharge leaking from the vagina, usually located on the skin or hair under the tail or on bedding.
- Fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and depression.
It is important to know that if the cervix remains closed the bacteria and toxins are absorbed into the bloodstream. This is known as a closed pyometra animals can become severely unwell very quickly. Signs of a closed pyometra are:
- Lack of appetite.
- Very listless.
- Very depressed.
- Vomiting and diarrhoea.
- Increase in urination and water consumption.
Once in the blood, toxins can affect a pet’s kidneys and ability to retain fluid.
Treatment is usually by surgical removal of the uterus and ovaries and is very successful if the infection is diagnosed early. Surgery is also more complicated than a routine spay because pets tend to be already quite unwell, needing a longer period of hospitalization, intravenous fluids and antibiotics.
If your pet is affected by anything we’ve shared, contact the team on 01772 639800 OR 01253 766352. If you’d like to discuss getting your pet neutered, call to book a COMPLIMENTARY consultation to discuss your pet’s needs.
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