Pyometra is a complicated disease that is triggered by bacterial involvement. It is an infection of the uterus that can occur in cats and dogs and makes them very ill. The cyclical hormonal influences of female cats and dogs lets the uterus go through changes that will be acceptable for fertilization of an embryo. If bacteria get introduced to the uterus at a specific time during the cycle, hormonal regulation of the uterus starts the infection, which can become life-threatening.

Cats and dogs that are spayed early in their life will most likely not develop pyometra. However, a uterine stump pyometra may occur after an incomplete ovariohysterectomy, where a uterine body or horn segment may become infected. When this develops, it is usually because a portion of the ovarian tissue is still present or the pet has been subjected to progestational hormones.

What Are the Signs of Pyometra?

Symptoms include:

• Excessive water intake
• Excessive urination
• Lethargy
• Anorexia
• Depression
• Bloody vaginal discharge
• Pal mucous membranes

Additional, less-reported signs include vomiting, weight loss, diarrhea, abdominal distension and inflamed eyes. Pets may even have no other signs besides purulent vaginal discharge. Please note that pyometra should be considered in any intact female dog that is sick.


To diagnose pyometra, your veterinarian may recommend the following tests:

• Complete blood count
• Urinalysis
• General chemistry profile
• Abdominal radiographs
• Abdominal ultrasound
• Vaginal cytology


Pyometra is a serious emergency that requires rapid intervention to prevent infection and death. Most pets will need preoperative stabilization and resuscitation, and after stabilization, an ovariohysterectomy (spay) is the optimal therapy of choice. When this occurs, a rapid recovery with minimal risk of recurrence is usually the outcome. Spaying also eliminates the risk of unwanted pregnancy and ovarian and uterine cancer.

There may be other methods of treatment if it is the desire to have the pet breed—these include injectable prostaglandins and antibiotics. If this occurs, it’s important to note that dogs and cats are susceptible to developing pyometra again and should be spayed when their breeding purposes are finished.

After-Treatment Care

After your pet gets discharged, there is minimal aftercare, which is generally the same as it is for a routine spaying procedure. Your pet will however be on antibiotics for at least 10 days, and activity should be limited for the first two weeks after surgery. The incision should also be protected from self-trauma.

At PAVG, we are always committed to making sure your pet stays happy and healthy. For any questions regarding pyometra, please contact us at our following locations:

Chillicothe: 309-273-1909
Dunlap: 309-439-9522
Dunlap II: 309-413-0527

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