I just left the vet's office and my
8 year old Sheltie is having emergency surgery for pyometra. My
vet didn't have time to explain much about it but said she needed to be
spayed right away.
She didn't seem that sick but did have some
bad smelling discharge from her female area. What is a pyometra?
dog... cat... pyometra... spay
Seen more often in dogs than cats, pyometra
means pus in the uterus. Pus (white blood cells that accumulate
in defense of infection) buildup can escape through the uterine tract
and is seen as a discharge from the vulva and often collects on the fur
under the tail and back legs. In some cases no discharge is
present... called a closed pyometra. Various factors play into
the development of pyometra such as irregular heat cycles, bladder or
vaginal infections, hormone imbalance, and false pregnancy episodes.
The uterine cavity becomes infiltrated with
pus and mucous from the infection and distends, stretching and thinning
the uterine wall. Bacteria and toxins enter the bloodstream and
cause havoc with the kidneys, liver and other organs and may lead to
endotoxic shock and sudden death. Veterinarians treat pyometra as
an emergency surgical case and are reluctant to simply "try some
antibiotics". Pyometra can be fatal!
There are a number of health enhancing effects on dogs and cats from
being spayed or neutered. In female dogs and cats any chance of
pyometra is eliminated by being spayed. Spaying means the ovaries and
uterus are removed and is referred to as an "ovariohysterectomy".
This condition occurs when the dog or cat feels, looks,
and acts like she is pregnant and even produces milk in the mammary
glands, and yet no fetuses are present. It is more common in dogs