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Pyometra

These images are each of a uterus removed from a dog during surgery at our clinic.

This first image is the uterus from a young, large breed female dog, who came in for a routine spay. As you can see it is small, pink and with little surrounding fat and minimal blood supply. Her surgery took about 45 minutes and she recovered quickly.


The second image is of a uterus from a mature, large breed female dog who presented to us for illness and was diagnosed with pyometra, or uterine infection. She was placed on IV fluids, started on IV antibiotics, and underwent emergency surgery to remove the infected uterus. She was lucky in that the pyometra was open, or draining, so uterine enlargement was not drastic and the uterus did not rupture. Her surgery took over an hour and she will required IV fluids for recovery and continued antibiotics. Her surgery cost about 3x what a routine spay would cost due to the additional treatments, time, and intensive care required.


Pyometra is a common condition in older intact female dogs, with one Swedish study estimating that 23-24% of intact female dogs will contract pyometra before the age of 10. Another study reported an incidence of 15% in intact female Beagles over the age of 4. Progesterone plays a role in developing pyometra, so it is typically diagnosed within 1-2 months of a heat cycle. Clinical signs may include lethargy, vomiting, increased drinking and urination and vaginal discharge. Some dogs with a "closed" or non-draining pyometra may become severely ill without any discharge. Blood work will typically reveal a very high white blood cell count as the body attempts to fight off the infection and the kidneys may also be affected. Surgery is the definitive and usual recommended treatment for pyometra once the dog is stable.

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