Every time a female dog has a season she undergoes hormonal changes associated with pregnancy – whether she becomes pregnant or not. The changes in the uterus that occur with each season make infection more likely with age. Cases of pyometra are most commonly seen in the 4-6 week period after a season and are more common in older animals.
Pyometra also can occur after a litter of puppies is born, when the uterus is open to infection.
Early signs are:
- licking her back end more than normal
- being off colour
- lack of interest in food
- drinking more than normal
These signs will progress to:
- Pus (yellow/red/brown discharge) from her vulva
- She may have a swollen abdomen
- If left untreated signs will worsen and dehydration, collapse and death from septic shock will occur.
The early signs can be unnoticed following the birth of a litter, as licking, discharge and not wanting to eat are common in the first few days after birth, however we are hopeful we have spotted it early enough and Honey has had an antibiotic injection followed by a course of antibiotics and seems brighter. We have instructions to ring our vet, Andrew, at the weekend (he is the on call vet for Donaldsons this weekend) and Honey will most likely need to go back after a week on antibiotics, for another checkup and possibly another course of antibiotics. This is a life threatening condition but we are hopeful that the antibiotics will at least allow the pups to get to an age where they can be weaned, before she has to be spayed, which is the usual treatment for Pyometra but we will not compromise Honey’s health or that of the puppies and are guided at all times by our vet. The pups are doing well at the moment and seem content.