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Posted on 05-02-2014

The word pyometra is derived from Latin, "Pyo" meaning pus and "Metra" meaning uterus.

Pyometra is an abscessed, (infected) uterus. Toxins and bacteria leak into the uterine wall and into the bloodstream causing a life-threatening situation.

When a pyometra or "Pyo" is occurring, the uterus will die, releasing pus and dead tissue into the abdomen. Without treatment, death is inevitable.

A pyometra can occur in un-spayed female dogs and cats of any age. Most often the patient is older and has recently finished a heat cycle within 1-2 months. A "pyo" can also occur after a female pet has whelped a litter of puppies or kittens.

How a Pyometra occurs:

With each heat cycle, the uterus prepares for pregnancy. Eventually, tissue engorgement becomes excessive, and a condition called "Cystic Endometrial Hyperplasia" occurs allowing tissue to be ripe for infection. While inside the uterus is sterile, the vagina is loaded with bacteria. This bacteria ascends from the vagina into the uterus causing infection.

There are two types of Pyometra's:

OPEN - Most common - The cervix is open allowing uterine contents to drip out and a smelly vaginal discharge is apparent.

CLOSED - Most dangerous - The cervix is closed, and there is no smelly vaginal discharge. The patient is more sick, because the toxins are trapped with in the uterus, and diagnosing can be more difficult.

Signs of Pyometra:

poor appetite

vomiting

increased drinking

lethargy

fever

Treatment of Pyometra:

Surgical removal of the uterus and ovaries a.k.a Spaying. In most cases this is an emergency surgery

Hospitalization for a few days

IV fluid therapy, and antibiotics

pain medication

Prevention of pyometra:

Spaying at 6 months of age completely prevents this condition from happening.

Spaying can not be over-emphasized

Some owners are undecided about spaying, and as time passes they fear their pet is to old to spay. This is NOT true, a female dog or cat can benefit from being spayed at any age.

If you have questions regarding pyometra or spaying. Please, call us at Eagle Animal Hospital (610) 458-8789. We serve Chester Springs, Downingtown, Exton, Glenmoore and the surrounding area.

Written by Vicki Guy, veterinary technician

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