Thirteen year-old Daisy was brought in to Sandhole Veterinary Centre after her owners became concerned - she hadn’t been her usual self for a few days. After reassuring them that they had done the right thing, our vet Katrina found that poor Daisy was panting and had a high temperature. Katrina was worried that Daisy had a pyometra - a uterine infection that mostly affects un-neutered female dogs. Pyometra can come on very quickly, and have potentially deadly consequences if left untreated.
Pyometra occurs as a result of hormonal and structural changes in the uterus lining which can happen at any age, whether a dog has had puppies or not, although it is often found in older dogs. It is most common two to three months after the dog's season has ended, as the cervix begins to close and the inner lining of the uterus returns to normal. However, this isn’t always the case and sometimes bacteria can migrate from the vagina to the uterus. The position of the cervix affects the severity of the condition - if it is open, the infection can leave the body and is far easier and safer to treat (an 'open pyometra'). However, if the cervix is closed, there is no discharge from the vulva, potentially leading to rupture of the uterus and pus escaping into the abdomen causing peritonitis (a 'closed pyometra').
Katrina's suspicion of a closed pyometra was confirmed after Daisy was admitted for an abdominal ultrasound scan. She spoke with Daisy's owners, explaining the situation carefully and honestly - having pets herself, Katrina understood all too well how worrying the situation must be. Despite her older age, Daisy's owners wanted to do everything they could for their loyal canine companion.
Daisy was placed on a drip and given antibiotics; our wonderful team of nurses quickly got to work preparing little Daisy for an emergency spey and accompanied her to theatre. By removing the uterus and ovaries we were able to remove the infection and prevent it from happening again. We're pleased to report that Daisy’s surgery went really well, and after plenty of TLC from everyone at Sandhole she was reunited with her owners that evening.
Daisy returned three days later for a check up - everyone was delighted to see her walk in all bright eyed and wagging her tail so soon after having major surgery. Daisy has been super brave throughout it all and was a star patient, which is why we have awarded her Sandhole’s Braveheart award.
Acting quickly increases the chances of successful treatment - the most obvious sign to look out for in your own female dog is discharge from the vulva. However, symptoms of a closed pyometra are less obvious and can include vomiting, loss of appetite, depression, increased drinking and urinating and sometimes a high temperature. Pyometra can be very serious, so please do keep an eye out for the signs in your own pets and contact us immediately if you are at all concerned.
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