A Case of Pyometritis

A 5 year old, female canine was brought in for an acute onset of lethargy, anorexia (not eating) and vaginal discharge. The owners had thought symptoms were related to allergies. The patient had never been bred and had a normal heat cycle 2 weeks prior. After a physical exam the doctor recommended blood work and radio graphs. He suspected pyometra- an infection in the uterus; in which bacteria have entered the uterus. The bacteria will migrate through the bloodstream and result in septicemia. It is a serious and life threatening condition that must be treated promptly and aggressively. It occurs at any age, but is most common in older dogs.

Typical time for occurrence is 2-8 weeks after a “heat cycle”. Clinical signs range from vaginal discharge (sometimes) to fever, lethargy, anorexia, and depression. Diagnosis is done with blood work- (elevation of white blood cells & globulins – a protein) and radiographs-(showing an enlarged uterus). An ultrasound can be done to differentiate pyometra from a normal pregnancy. After diagnosing pyometra we hospitalized the patient, placed an IV cath, began fluids, and IV medications. Pre-surgical and pain medications were administered, followed by an iv anesthetic, endotracheal tube placement and initiation of gas anesthesia. The abdomen is shaved, vacuumed, surgically scrubbed, and surgical rinsed. The patient was placed in the surgery suite on a heated surgical table. The surgery was performed using a Co2 laser. Co2 lasers are beneficial because they cauterize as they cut which causes little to no bleeding, and promotes faster healing time and minimal scarring.

The patient is monitored with state of the art equipment as well as a veterinary technician monitoring manually, to insure a patient’s vital organs function. Once inside the abdominal cavity the uterus was so enlarged and full of pus that it takes up most of the cavity pushing other organs out of the way. The uterus is removed surgically and carefully- (so that it is not ruptured). The surgery was routine with no complications. The patient was recovered by a technician and given additional pain medications to keep pain to a minimum. The uterus was weighed at 9 lbs an amazing size. Due to the severity and serious nature of this disease the patient remains hospitalized until no longer in a critical state. This is another perfect example of why it is so very important to spay or neuter your pet at a young age; preventing the chance of your pet developing such a serious disease .