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  • Writer's pictureKatie Roe-Jarisch, DMV

Protecting Your Canine Companion: The Dangers of Pyometra and the Importance of Early Spaying


-Dr Katie Roe-Jarisch, DVM


Welcome to my first blog post, dedicated to the health and well-being of our furry friends. I am here to share a serious yet often overlooked condition that affects female dogs: pyometra. From understanding the symptoms to exploring the crucial role of early spaying, let's dive into everything you need to know to keep your furry companion healthy.


What is Pyometra?

Pyometra is a serious condition where the uterus becomes infected, typically occurring in older female dogs who have not been spayed. This infection can result from hormonal changes during the heat cycle, which make the uterus more susceptible to bacterial invasion. As the infection progresses, the uterus fills with pus, leading to a potentially life-threatening situation.

One of the most alarming aspects of pyometra is that it can often go unnoticed until it reaches a critical stage. Unlike other health issues that may exhibit obvious symptoms, pyometra can develop silently until it becomes an emergency. Silent development is why dog owners must be vigilant and stay proactive about their pet's health. Pyometra requires immediate veterinary attention, do not wait to call! 


1. Prolonged and abnormal heat cycles: If your female dog's heat cycle lasts longer than usual or seems irregular, it could be a sign of pyometra.

2. Vomiting and not eating: Dogs with pyometra may experience gastrointestinal issues, leading to vomiting and a loss of appetite.

3. Increased drinking or urination: Pyometra can cause changes in a dog's drinking habits, leading to increased thirst and more frequent urination.

4. Lethargy: A dog with pyometra may appear unusually tired or lethargic, lacking their usual energy and enthusiasm.

5.  Fever: An elevated body temperature is a common sign of infection, indicating that the body is trying to fight off the invading bacteria.

6. Vaginal discharge: This is a symptom of pyometra and is often white, yellowish or green.


It's important to note that these symptoms may not all present at once, and some dogs may only exhibit a few of them. However, any combination of these symptoms seen in your dog requires immediate care. Being vigilant and attentive to your dog's health can help you detect early warning signs.


The treatment for pyometra typically involves emergency surgery to remove the infected uterus, known as an ovariohysterectomy or spay procedure. This operation is not only costly but also carries significant risks, especially if the condition has progressed to a severe stage. In some cases, dogs may require intensive post-operative care to recover fully.


Prevention is always the best approach when it comes to pyometra. Spaying your female dog at an early age significantly reduces the risk of developing this condition. Not only does spaying prevent pyometra, but it also lowers the risk of other reproductive issues and certain types of cancer.


In conclusion, pyometra is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that all dog owners should be aware of. By recognizing the symptoms and understanding the importance of early spaying, you can help protect your furry best friend from this dangerous illness. Don't wait until it's too late – talk to me or any of my staff at our clinic, Fidelis Animal Hospital, about the benefits of spaying, the right age to spay,  and how to take proactive steps to ensure your dog's health and happiness for many, many years to come!



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