If you have dogs at home, you have probably spent considerable time being worried about their health; whether they are well or if they have some sort of health problem because they are loved members of your family. Therefore, in this article entitled Canine Pyometra – Symptoms and Treatment, we will show you one of the most common problems that our female dogs can have.
Today, our dogs have become one of our best friends, occupying our time and our day-to-day life. For that reason, we love to see them healthy and happy because seeing them well comforts us. Therefore, it is beneficial to know all kinds of information relevant to this topic since pyometra is one of the most common diseases found in female dogs. That is why, if you think that your dog is going through this phase, the best thing you can do is go to a veterinarian for clinical examinations and proper treatment. The sooner you get a diagnosis and a treatment, the better it will be for your dog’s health. Although there is a treatment available, it is much more effective if it is caught in the early stages.
What is Pyometra in Dogs?
Pyometra, or Cystic Endometrial Hyperplasia, is a prevalent hormonal disease in female dogs caused by an abnormal increase in the progesterone hormone.
Over time, dogs with pyometra can end up having problems related to fertility. In addition, in severe cases, it can end up causing different types of organ failure that can even be fatal. This can happen if we neglect to receive proper care for our dog or because of the dog’s genetic misfortune. So, it is crucial that we get involved in proper treatment in order to avoid early death or adverse health effects.
Although we should not be too worried about canine pyometra, it is important to deal with the disease if we do not want it to harm the dog. In fact, a large portion of female dogs ends up going through canine pyometra sometime in their lives.
Scientists have discovered that the hormonal cycle is closely related to the contraction of the disease; putting dogs at higher risk of pyometra at certain times in their cycle. It usually appears about ten or twelve weeks after ovulation in their heat cycle.
It is usually due to a natural increase in the hormone progesterone. This causes uterine contractions to decrease and end up generating some related changes in the endometrium.
In summary … we could say that canine pyometra is a prevalent uterine infection in the canine world that only affects female dogs once they have reached sexual maturity. It is considered a secondary infection and does not have the capacity to be contagious.
How does Canine Pyometra develop?
How does canine pyometra develop? The development of pyometra can be caused by a variety of reasons, such as an elevation of progesterone once the heat cycle is over, an opportunistic bacterial infection, or some irregular morphological changes within the endometrium. Thus, even if though it is a common disease, and not contagious or dangerous if it is not treated on time and in the correct way, it can cause more severe complications. For that reason, if you suspect that your dog may be going through canine pyometra, the best thing you can do is go to your veterinarian for a check-up that confirms your dog’s state of health.
In general, canine pyometra is a disease that, if it occurs, occurs in females who have already reached the age of five, although the truth is that it can occur from the first heat cycle.
As we have mentioned, it develops in the weeks after the heat cycle, when the level of concentration of the hormone progesterone is higher. This phase is known as metestrus.
In 85% of cases, we can see how the affected dog has certain bloody purulent vaginal discharge. This occurs between the second and the eighth week after the heat cycle is over.
There are two different types of canine pyometra. On the one hand, open pyometra refers to the moment in which the cervix appears open. This form of canine pyometra is the mildest. On the other hand, closed pyometra is more severe and is when we do not observe any vaginal discharge. If this is the case, take it very seriously because we would be facing the most serious possibility that this disease can present.
What Are Symptoms of canine pyometra?
As such, the most indicative symptoms that can lead us to think that our dog suffers from canine pyometra could be lethargy, fever, loss of appetite, polyuria, or laziness. Although it is scarce, there may also be some who suffer from bloating and diarrhea. Finally, for the most worrisome cases or those that have not received adequate medical attention, it could end up producing peritonitis, toxemia, septicemia, or kidney failure.
The most correlated causes of canine pyometra are derived from possible disorders in relation to the hormonal cycle. At the end of the heat cycle, progesterone concentrations increase in the dog. This causes the uterine contractions to decrease, causing some changes in the endometrium. In turn, this decrease favors bacterial growth and the possible appearance of nodules, increasing the severity of the disease.
What Are Diagnosis of Canine pyometra?
If we have the slight suspicion that our dog has some symptoms of canine pyometra, the best thing we can do is call our veterinarian to ask all the possible questions we have. He will give us the best directions to follow.
If necessary, the diagnosis will be made by physical examination and anamnesis. Once these tests have been carried out, you will receive a confirmation of the diagnosis based on an ultrasound.
If none of these tests are conclusive and there is a suspicion of the existence of tumor masses inside the uterus, the vet may also perform analysis and cytology to try to clarify the situation and carry out a definitive diagnosis.
Thus, thanks to the result of the analysis, the vet will conclude if they found any symptoms of infection. Likewise, we can observe the concentration of neutrophils in the vaginal cytology test.
If you ignore it, your dog may end up in the operating room.
What Are Treatments of canine pyometra? Medical Treatment
How is canine pyometra treated? As for the most appropriate treatment to solve this problem, it is usually surgery. As of today, the security and success rate is very high. That is why you should not be afraid when your dog enters the operating room.
However, you could also try to address this problem using more conservative techniques. This decision will depend on the condition of the dog and the degree of evolution of the disease.
Conservative treatment of canine pyometra
Can anything else be done for canine pyometra other than surgery? If we decided to try a conservative path, there are several actions that we can take. These could include washing the uterus, antibiotic therapy, installing transcervical drainage, or the administration of prostaglandins that allow increasing the contractility of the uterus.
This treatment is recommended to be tested, especially in mild cases when one of the things we intend to achieve is maintaining our dog’s fertility. However, until you have finished overcoming this disease, we cannot guarantee that the dog will maintain the ability to gestation. Therefore, these alternative measures can only be taken in cases of open pyometra and always after carrying out an exhaustive and careful evaluation of the patient, and as long as the dog does not present toxemia.
What Are Surigcal treatments of canine pyometra?
The other option is the surgical removal of the uterus and ovaries, known as an ovariohysterectomy. Typically, after this surgery is complete a high white blood cell count is observed, as neutrophils are no longer sequestered. Although it may be a bit shocking or invasive at first, the truth is that today it is possibly the safest therapeutic solution we have. For these reasons, it is usually the treatment of choice in most cases that arise. In addition, supportive therapy such as antibiotic therapy, fluid therapy, or treatment through the use of analgesics will also accompany the surgery.
Therefore, the postoperative period will be critical. There we will have to strictly control signs of infection that are observed. If the canine pyometra becomes more advanced or serious, it could end up turning into peritonitis.
How To Prevent canine pyometra?
How can canine pyometra be prevented? The first method of prevention is related to hygiene and nutritional health. Thus, we must ensure that our dog is fed properly and in a clean and safe environment. In this way, we prevent the problem from occurring by providing the dog with a healthy environment to live in.
On the other hand, if our dog is over five years old and we do not intend for her to be or become a mother again, it may be a good time to consider sterilization.
In this way, we will ensure that the disharmonization of the progesterone hormone does not occur within the uterus of our dog, and therefore, we will prevent canine pyometra from developing.