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Pyometra – Why You Should Spay Your Female Dog

May 8, 2011
Maggie is black and tan with bog brown eyes and balding fur on her hind legs from flea allergy dermatitis

Maggie prepares for surgery

Maggie Feels Sick All of a Sudden

“Doc, Maggie was fine the day before yesterday.  Now she won’t eat, vomited once, and is straining to go to the bathroom.  I might be crazy, but her stomach almost looks like she’s pregnant.  I know she can’t be… she’s old,” said Maggie’s mom.

What is Pyometra?

Pyometra is a uterine infection in which the entire uterus fills with pus.  There is open pyometra in which the pus drains to the outside through the vulva and closed pyometra, in which the cervix is closed and the pus builds up inside until the uterus ruptures internally.

A sad, black and tan, ten-year-old shepherd-mix dog looked at Doc Truli. Maggie felt awful.  Doc Truli lifted Maggie’s lip and looked at her gums.  The normal pink was replaced by a lacy red network of fine blood vessels.  Doc’s index finger stuck to the mucous membranes; there was no moisture in Maggie’s mouth.

Next, Doc Truli felt Maggie’s stomach area.  Her sides bulged out a little bit.  Her abdomen felt a little bulbous, like a long, oval ballon was stuck inside.  Her vulva was enlarged, her nipples were prominent, and she had a little speck of red-yellow smelly discharge from her vulva.

Symptoms of Pyometra

  • Lethargy
  • Reluctance to eat
  • Straining to go to the bathroom
  • Sometimes vomit and diarrhea
  • Sometimes vaginal discharge
  • Sometimes visible abdominal enlargement
  • Septic shock
  • Sudden Death

In short, Maggie was septic, dehydrated, unspayed, with a large abdomen, straining to go to the bathroom, and we could not determine when her last heat cycle was because she did not show it with symptoms at her advanced age.

Tru Tip

Most cases of pyometra occur within two months after a heat cycle because of the hormone surges associated with the heat.

Spayed dogs can have a “stump pyometra” where the remaining cervical stump can develop of pus-filled infection.  Rarely, even a spayed dog needs emergency surgery.

“We’ll run a few tests – XRay her abdomen, and check her Complete blood count and chemistries of the blood, get her started on rehydration though intravenous fluids.  I’m 99% sure Maggie has pyometra and needs emergency surgery TODAY to save her life,” said Doc Truli.

Maggie has Emergency Pyometra Surgery

The pictures are graphic.  The purpose in showing the pictures is to motivate and educate anyone out there who is reluctant to have their healthy dog spayed.  Do it now while your dog is strong and healthy.  It will be planned to fit your schedule, cost you much, much less money, and be much, much, much safer for your girl!

Maggie’s surgery involved extra painkillers, special anesthetic monitoring, and extra equipment on hand in case the uterus ruptured as soon as it was touched! (Sometimes the uterus has been infected for days, and it becomes purple and thin-walled and pus oozes out when a light finger-touch presses on the uterus just to touch it in order to perform the surgery!)

The actual operation is a dog ovariohysterectomy.  The ovaries must go to eliminate the hormones that helped potentiate the body for the infection in the first place!  The difference between a regular dog spay and a pyometra spay is the risk, the metabolic and physical compromise of the female patient’s system, and the possible complications because of the large, pus-filled uterus.

Pyometra Complications

  • Sepsis can result in DIC, disseminated vascular coagulation- the dog has spontaneous blood clotting in the vessels anywhere in the body, uses up the clotting factors, and then bleeds to death internally.  This is very, very difficult to treat medically and the prognosis is poor.
  • Thromboembolism – especially pulmonary, prognosis poor, also very difficult to treat
  • Death from electrolyte imbalances, dehydration, anemia, or other infection complications, can be corrected and helped before surgery if there is time and the uterus is not about to rupture!
  • Sudden, unexpected death from leakage of uterine pus contents into the abdomen, leakage contents can be flushed and cleaned from the abdomen, then it depends on the strength of the dog is she will heal up.

Many Pyometra Patients Have Suboptimal Basic Care

To be honest, many dogs Doc Truli sees with pyometra have received little or no veterinary care over their lifetime.  Because of this, they often have concomitant health concerns.  The most common if heartworm disease.  Also, these girls often have intestinal parasite infestation.  Some of them also have incredibly poor nutrition because they were fed cheap dog food or not fed enough at all.

Pyometra Prevention

Unless your female dog is a show dog and you are a licensed professional breeder improving or inventing a breed of dogs, do not breed your dog.  Have your dog spayed, ideally before the first heat, which can occur as young as 6 months old.  If your dog is older, have her spayed right away!

Sometimes, even dogs with good healthcare will develop pyometra.  Usually, a typical pyometra patient is elderly, receives little veterinary preventative care, and also has been sick for days before the pet parent notices or feels compelled to seek professional help.  But once in a while, a young, healthy dog will unexpectedly just develop a case of pyometra.  If the symptoms resemble those listed above, consult your veterinarian right away!

Maggie’s Fate

Maggie recovered great!  She was sleepy for a day.  Then her appetite flooded back and she ate food like a starving dog!  All those daily dietary proteins her body used to fight the infection and make the pus suddenly became available for healing and tissue regeneration.  Maggie is happy and well today.

19 Comments leave one →
  1. Karla Brewster permalink
    October 9, 2016 1:16 pm

    Less than 2% of bitches will get Pyometria.
    Stop with the scare tactics.

    • October 28, 2016 10:06 am

      Dear Karla,
      I am posting your comment because it is true that 2% or less of female dogs will get pyometra. It is not a scare tactic. It is education for people who may not know about pyometra.

      I think of it this way: if something bad has only a 2% chance of happening, that doesn’t sound like much, does it? No! But, how bad is the bad thing? And how preventable with relatively small time and expense is it. In America, spaying a female dog you do not intend to breed is considered a planned, elective surgery. It is about 10% of the cost of emergency care for a pyometra. Therefore, pyometra may be something most people would want to know about and avoid.

      Doc Truli

      • Danielle G permalink
        December 14, 2016 4:53 pm

        Mine and my sisters dogs both got this. They are sisters from different litters, same mom and dad. Mine was a year old and hers was 8 at the time. I think it happens more often than this unless this is just a fluke in nature.

  2. Mary permalink
    January 23, 2015 3:24 pm

    I just almost lost one of my 9 year old Tibetan Mastiffs to pyometra who was never bred. Her heat once a year never posed a problem. The Pyometra came on during Thanks Giving and almost cost her, her life. She was never sick a day in her life up until that time. She and her sister ran free in a very large yard made of grass and which I always poop a scoop. She was parasite free and has no heart worms and was fed the best food. So as far as I can see, is that any unsprayed older female may be at risk, but in all my years of having dogs since I was knee high to a grass hopper, I had never come across Pyometra. She didn’t even have a fever and just started to come off her feed. It came on like gang busters after going thru her heat cycle in November. We were able to save her life and she is now bouncing and playing like a younger dog. This is a long lived large breed, so 9 years was not terribly old. I just went ahead and spayed her full sister. Good thing I did as her uterus was enlarged. It was a bit hard on her, as we did not expect to find an enlarged uterus. Her surgery was just done a couple of days ago and she is feeling a lot of discomfort but I think she will be okay. Just went and got stronger meds for her. Her surgery was more extensive then even her sister who had pyometra. Glad I followed a hunch and had it done. It probably saved her life, so now she and her sister can live out their lives together as they have always done. I am 67 years old and this is the first time I have had this kind of problem with a dog and dogs have been my life. So I think that if you let a large breed in particular reach it’s full growth and then have it spay or neutered, that is the way to go. I have seen first had what happens when you spay too soon. I have a friend who did this with her Tibetan Mastiff and it developed premature urinary dripping. If your dog is a large breed keep your dog in if she comes into heart before she is spay. Then wait for her to finish growing and then have her spay. This can avoid later problems of being spay too early. Having any dog is a responsibility and especially a large breed. If you are not up to taking on that responsibility then don’t have a dog or any animal, because they need care and love just like we do. They are our fellow journeyers in this life. I for one, would never been without them being my friend, guardian and teacher.

    • February 24, 2015 9:00 am

      Thank you for your story, Mary. I’m glad your dogs are doing well. Maybe our stories will help other dogs.

      -Doc Truli

  3. Eric Wright permalink
    September 24, 2012 7:17 am

    The percentage of dogs that die from pyometra is lower than those who die from many other things.

    It is possible to treat a bitch with a combination of expensive antibiotics if the bitch’s bloodlines are worth expanding with a future litter. (Most people should have their bitch spayed if she will not be used for ethical breeding purposes, and certainly if she has developed pyometra)

    As I write this I have a 16 year old Aussie bitch that is intact and completely healthy.

    There are no longer any plans for a future litter, but now her age is another factor… despite her youthful agility and energy levels to rival a 6-7 year old Lab…. so she will remain intact and watched very carefully for all her remaining days, which we hope are many more years. (20-21 is not out of the question for this breed)

    My girl has had 4 litters, spread across 8 years of her life, and is none the worse for wear. She’s minus one molar just this last winter, and her teeth are not as sharp as they once were, but other than that she’s in perfect health. She has the most beautiful two-tone brown eyes which are very clear, giving no hint of any cataracts, and her muscle tone is awesome from daily trips out into the desert to chase AND CATCH wild rabbits, (She always brings them home to trade for cheese or pieces of steak I keep as rewards. We trained her at a young age to trade mice and squirrels for human food, so she never eats them, and she dispatches them swiftly instead of playing like cats tend to.)

    I have had nearly 45 unaltered female dogs in my life and NEVER had any of them develop pyometra, most of them had 2 or 3 planned litters before retiring to full pet status, because they were kept clean and in a clean environment… and when mated the males were kept just as clean, including sheath washes the same as we do for horses.

    I had one Great Dane that prolapsed on a heat and we elected to have her spayed instead of having her sewn back in place to risk a future prolapse… and that was the closest we ever came to pyometra.

    I have recently done much research online and with breeders I know, and most of them have had the same experiences… and those who have had Pyometra in bitches have also raised them in poorer conditions, such as in sawdust filled pens, dirt yards where they could squat in a dirty corner and come up with a dusty or muddy vulva…

    The numbers I am seeing, which can be found in a simple google search for “prevalence of pyometra” (Looks like about 2% in bitches >10 years old overall)

    Click to access Canine_pyometra.pdf

    The above article and several like it reveal there are combinations of drugs that work very well at controlling Pyometra in bitches that do have it and have a valid reason to be bred again…. however the next link seems to claim NO DRUGS work on pyometra.
    I think this means more studies need to be done, or certain vets need to go back to school or read up on more recent findings (like 2004 findings, which are not THAT new)

    They should be embarrassed for posting misinformation…

    Anyway, if you read up enough you will find my “luck” with my bitches has mostly been due to low risk breeds, clean environment and quality feed, and attention to health.

    If you are going to have pets intact, you had better watch them closely for health changes, keep them in an environment where they can keep reasonably clean, lock up your females when they are anywhere near their scheduled heat cycle (better a week or two early than too late,) and if you are going to breed your male you need to make sure he is clean too… not just around the time of his servicing your bitch.

    Responsibility is the name of the game.

    If you can’t be responsible, you should alter your pet, or don’t have any…

    It’s a life long commitment, and one as serious as raising a child.

    I hope some people learn from my post, and the ones linked to.. or do your own searches and see what MODERN worldwide research has uncovered about this horrible condition we call pyometra.

    To everyone who owns breeds prone to the condition: I feel deeply sorry for you and your pets. For you it may be best to just spay your females, at least until medicine advances enough to pretreat or cure pyometra before it is a problem.

    Given the large numbers of unwanted pets, be they dogs or cats or horses, spaying will be suggested even before a problem exists…

    Keep this in mind for the IUSA though… we import a huge number of unwanted dogs from europe (which someone is paid for accepting) and then they are distributed to shelters all over the country and so it makes numbers of American strays APPEAR larger than in reality.

    Agencies were paid to accept them and distribute them… American breeders get the blame… There are more being produced in the USA, but the real crime is in importing foreign unwanted dogs when we already have our own problems…

    Don’t believe me? Dig in to the internet… the data is there, though not as easy to find as it was 2 years ago…

    I’d suggest the WayBack Machine @ Internet archive….

    I wish it were not true, but I know some people who work at east coast shelters who confirmed what I found online. I was shocked when I first read it.

    Sorry for that off topic portion, but more people need to realize that when ASPCA and other groups ask for monetary assistance, much of it is supporting dogs that were not born in this country, dogs that were shipped here for the sole reason of alleviating another countries over population of pets.

    I for one would support a 3 litter per bitch maximum for her life…

    And for breeds with shorter lifespans, a 2 litter max should be imposed so she can live the bulk of her life as a pampered pet, not a producer out in the kennel.

    All the laws passed will not stop puppy mills however… and back yard breeders…. they don’t care about the laws.

    I take exception to the Page title here: Pyometra – Why You Must Spay Your Female Dog…

    Even at 25% chance by 10 years old, those odds are pretty good in favor of waiting to spay until there are symptoms, but only if owners pay attention. Those who are too lazy to play with their dogs every day, too lazy to insure they remain healthy for all of their life… They need to spay their dogs, but more to reduce unwanted puppies from being born.

    In Las Vegas the law is now puppies have to be spayed by 6 months…

    What does the Author of this article think of that?

    Would you share with the rest of the readers what that is likely to do to a female or male large breed dog? At 6 months many of them are not yet full sized, and worse, their bones are not finished, so there are increased risks of them growing too large and having urinary tracts too small, as in painfully small and greater risks of UTI’s.
    How about increasing Osteoporosis? (Are years of Osteoporosis pain better than the surgery and recovery from a spay at an older age?)

    Hormones play a very important role in the growth of a dog, or a human for that matter…

    A human male made eunuch for instance (Biblical type, before puberty) commonly grew EXTRA TALL.

    A subject of castration who is altered before the onset of puberty will retain a high voice, non-muscular build, and small genitals. He may well be taller than average, as the production of sex hormones in puberty—more specifically, estrogen via aromatization of testosterone—stops long bone growth.

    The same is true for dogs….

    Those of us who show and hunt our dogs want them as nature intended…

    An already tall breed puppy can become TOO TALL to move gracefully, and can develop bone problems if spayed or neutered too soon.

    Who benefits the most from laws like in Las Vegas, NV? The vets which get a higher fee for the surgery than in most other states for the initial surgery…. and as the years go by they make more from increased complications of early alteration.

    I am not saying wait until the dog is 8-10 years old, some breeds rarely achieve such ages… but wait 12-18 months, depending on the breed, so their growth plates can close.

    In the mean time, keep vigilant and insure no unwanted puppies!

    What do you suppose the real risk is of pyometra, in a percentage number of intact female dogs, across every breed?

    Thanks to some breeds being predispositioned to it, I am sure the overall average is much higher than the middle to lower half of known breeds…. but to what degree would be interesting to research.

    The problem with Veterinary statistics, as opposed to research statistics is Healthy dogs commonly live and die without ever seeing a vet, and their numbers are not included in such statistics.

    If you only have people bringing dogs in with the most common issues, and a number of paranoid owners with healthy dogs, your numbers are going to be skewed.

    The Swedish study cited used breeding kennel & laboratory animals, which also isn’t fair… given common kennel arrangements not being as clean as having an entire yard to roam and do their business in…. cramped spaces nullify a certain amount of validity when E-Coli is a major player in pyometra.

    What do you REALLY think? I think more research needs to be done, just like with White Boxers being branded as likely deaf, even though there is little truth to the statement.

    THE old study usually cited was a single kennel and old tests not done as they would be today.

    Current studies find the percentage of White Boxers with deafness is near equal to deafness in solid colored or brindle ones… and lower than white Dalmatians or German Shepherds…

    My how modern research has turned the world on it’s ear….

    What do you suppose we will find about Pyometra?

    • September 26, 2012 2:48 pm

      Dear Eric,
      Thank you for your fantastic close-reading and sharing your research and experience as a responsible dog breeder. I can understand why you would take offense at the title of my story. Your experience is above average, for sure!

      Over-all, I agree more research needs to be done. I do not think
      Our society will pay for it, even though our dogs are such an important part of our lives.

      I also agree with your point about skewed veterinary viewpoints. When I share statistics or even prognosis with my clients, I let them know the statistics only apply to the defined group in the research analysis. Obviously, these “experts” cannot characterize the 50-60% of pets in America who never use veterinary care. I often wonder what the real picture is.

      For example, pancreatitis can be a scary and quickly deadly disease. Let’s imagine a pet owner is legally held liable for not following doctor’s orders. Then their dog diagnosed with pancreatitis might need hospitalization. The diagnosis is partly art. The treatment is based on imperfect science. Can I look someone in the eye and tell them their dog will die without invasive, costly, anxiety-inducing hospitalization? That would be unfair and perhaps untrue. If there was a law that criminalized someone for having a different opinion than their doctor about what was best for their family, I feel that would be horrible!

      Probably there are 100 dogs with self-limiting pancreatitis in my town right now. They will recover after a day or so of discomfort. They will not seek or need my help.

      How many dogs have low grade mild uterine infection that resolves naturally?It may be the same as pancreatitis. People who take responsibility for their actions should be left in peace to run their affairs as they see fit.

      My article was intended to educate the people who do not spay their dogs because of ignorance of the possibility of pyometra, ignorance of how diligently and easily dogs mate, fear of anesthesia, or a perception that it costs too much for the surgery. My experience as an emergency room vet is that of unspayed dogs with advanced pyometra or in dystocia needing surgery to birth the puppies and no financial resources from their humans to help them. (none-not even $5).

      So the problem now is presented to me for a solution. It is a diabolical situation. Antibiotics for pyometra sometimes helped. Sometimes for years. (That female still seemed predisposed to more pyometra.)

      luckily, for me, I never had to let a female suffer in dystocia. The closest I came was an aggressive chihuahua who had a puppy stuck in her birth canal and a family with no money at all.
      I was deciding whether I could afford to spend a few hours time and the supplies for a free surgery to save her, when she passed out because she pulled on her leash and pressed on her vagus nerve in her neck (this slows the heart rate)

      As I was bending to revive her, I realized I could have another doctor on shift revive her while I quick lubed and gloved and delivered the stuck puppy vaginally! She recovered in a few minutes and delivered the second puppy naturally, snarling at us the whole time! That was a very, very close free c-section (or the unthinkable alternative of sending her away to die.)

      About the physiological effect of spaying. Studies have been shown that urethra narrowing does not occur. I think the research that 25% of spayed female dogs are at risk for estrogen deficiency urinary incontinence is true, although 25% might be high. Tell you what- nobody mentioned it in vet school! really???! Talk about a party-line. It’s like they didn’t even want the vets to know there was a potential controversy (I was taught by the vet who discovered vaccines causing cancer in cats-she shared first-hand how hard it is to believe something doctors are doing is hurting the patients. Plus how hard it is to convince the whole profession.)

      There is some parental-type shaping of opinions at school (they call it learning to be professional. Aka learning the “standard of care” or as I call it “the party line.”) sometimes I think it makes it harder to be a good healer and clear my mind of preconceptions and hand-fed information.

      I have not seen solid research that the dogs may get gigantism or problems like human eunochs do. I know that what happens to one species cannot be assumed for another- otherwise cats would be able to make endogenous taurine. Yet they can’t.

      I advise responsible owners of large breed puppies that breeders tell me their dogs grow sturdier and bigger shoulders and heads if they wait to neuter until about 18 months old. Many people want to neuter them early anyway because they do not trust themselves to keep their dog from running the neighborhood! No kidding!

      I believe all of my advice in the exam room be tailored to the family. If not, a computer algorithm could do my job. On the Internet, I try to offer inspirational stories to help pets I cannot meet in person.

      Thank you for your input. If I frustrated or angered you, I did not mean to do so. Please understand, shelters in my county in Florida euthanize 60,000 cats and dogs annually for lack of homes. So I encourage spaying!

      Oh-If readers are incredulous or confused about importation of dogs and then the misrepresentation of them as homeless or strays. I have seen this, too. In Miami, pups have been imported from South America and sold as home-
      raised purebreed puppies for decades If they don’t get sold, or if they get expensive illnesses, they are dumped at shelters. I heard the 1992 “Florida puppy lemon law” was passed to protect the public from unscrupulous people selling imported, sick puppies and then disappearing. The family would be left with a pup with distemper, parvo, pneumonia, etc and some very sad children wondering why their new puppy died. It still goes on now, I think mostly because the public still do not even know what health certificates to look for when they get a puppy. So they are duped. And enforcement is difficult and takes up to 2 years and three assistant district attorneys just to get a misdemeanor $300 fine and “sold a pup without a health certificate” declared (I was the expert testimony lined up for one of the few cases actually prosecuted.)

      Unspoken in your comment is the idea that some commonly promoted Veterinary recommendations are more tradition than science-based. And they should be constantly reexamined and not just mindlessly promoted for a vet’s lifetime.

      Oh yeah- I almost forgot my favorite bit of data related to spay and neuter laws. Over the past 30 years, in the US, we have the same proportion of unwanted, shelter-euthanized pets that we had before the “spay and neuter all pets” national campaign. My interpretation? It doesn’t work to spay and neuter to reduce pet overpopulation. We should propose and research other ways to solve the problem. Like early childhood education about pet behavior and pet care.

      So, thanks for sharing. I feel, in the US today, my best advice for most pet parents is to spay your dog.

      • Eric Wright permalink
        November 9, 2012 5:44 pm


        I love your response!

        It’s the best I have ever received to similar posts regarding this subject.

        Delving into other areas where research is still needed, and validation of some research already done, is awesome. Few online are willing to admit that they may have simply not been taught some things in veterinary school. I am glad you are not so arrogant as to think past research could be invalid and deserving modern re-validation.

        One such area is in modern antibiotics that when combined can remove risk of pyometra in a bitch that has a good reason for another breeding (for passing good traits from her line possibly) with little concern to the cost financially. I hope the cost of the drugs would stop indiscriminate breeders from even considering an option other than spaying…

        I am now forced to make a trip from Las Vegas to Washington for a puppy from the same lines as my oldest Australian Shepherd. She “could” have another litter (her 5th) at 16, but I won’t risk the drain on her body when I can purchase a relative from the same kennel and blood lines as she is from.. I’d like her to live the longest possible life in comfort. She is un-spayed, and in perfect health, so until there is a medical reason (like tumors or, heaven forbid, pyometra) she will not have the integrity of her skin compromised by any surgery, no matter how trivial.

        Keep up the good articles, they are much enjoyed.

      • November 10, 2012 8:44 pm

        Thanks Eric!
        Good luck with your new dam.
        -Doc Truli

      • February 19, 2013 2:01 am

        Doc Truli – please tell me more about our having “the same proportion of unwanted, shelter-euthanized pets that we had before the “spay and neuter all pets” national campaign.” I don’t doubt your claim actually, but I thought that the euth rates are way way down from a decade or so ago.. Maybe it was just a sarcastic statement, one that would outrage those who use the S&N mantra.

        I have decided to NOT spay my almost 2 year old German Shepherd, at least not for another 6 months or so, as I want to wait until she’s filled out. I expect she’ll put on another 7 or so lbs to her slender 60 lbs. My previous shep was neutered very young; he lived a long 12 years, but the last 2 were difficult with severe arthritis (he had skinny feet & legs) and then at the very end, cancer.

      • February 20, 2013 11:14 am

        Dear Bridget,
        Thank you for your close reading. I was serious when I said as many with shelter pets nationwide as estimated puppy mill output. I do not have the reference anymore. I remember it from a animal behavior lecture at the University of Pennsylvania Vet School. If this were a peer-reviewed site, instead of my coaching and insights, it would require references (I can’t always remember where I learned certain things.)

        To reconstruct a reference and double check my assertion today, I would compare the HSUS or the ASPCA estimated # of euthanized pets per year in US (call them? Or find on website?) plus, I would ask them the puppy mill estimates and how they arrived at those estimated. (I know we did this years ago in that lecture preparation).

        So, based on my memory of the lecture and my analysis of the source credibility at the time, I discovered the very idea of comparing those two estimates was eye-opening. Just considering the scale of the two endeavors. And the idea that they are comparable is interesting to me. Of course, it in no way implies an association or any deeper meanings.

        I write these articles and stories to give you an idea of how I think about these things so you may consider your beliefs and ideas!

      • February 20, 2013 11:20 am

        The euth rates are equivalent to the rates in the 1970’s nationwide when normalized for human population. (Per person rate). Now, I looked at this in 2009. I have seen a media upswelling of enthusiasm for reduction of euthanasias. I say it this way because the numbers are still outrageous on any daily, human level. I have not seen national numbers for 2012 (if you would like to post a link for our readers, that would be awesome!)

        I wish every breeder has to spend a day holding pets for euthanasia at a shelter before they got a breeder’s permit.

        I also would love to see more shelter boutiques for people to adopt more dogs.

  4. gerardo delacruz permalink
    December 25, 2011 9:39 pm

    j have a 1yr old poodle the vet told me she has pyometra ailthough he didnt mention if it was open or closed by what i have read on your article i believe she has open pyometra my question is ..Is there any chance of getting better with out having any surgery? and what are the chances?

    • December 27, 2011 8:57 pm

      Dear Gerardo,

      I cannot answer your question about chances your personal dog might get better. I can tell you that, in my experience as a general practitioner and as an emergency room veterinarian, some people absolutely could not afford surgery. If the dog was oozing discharge, and not keeping it all trapped inside, could eat and drink, and could hold down antibiotics without vomiting them up, some of them lived. Of the ones that lived, some had a worse pyometra 6-12 months later, some didn’t.

      I also saw a Spaniel breeder quite often who had a lot of pyometra in her dogs. Because they were show dogs and the puppies were worth quite a lot of money, she forbid me from spaying any of the dogs, even when they had endometritis or pyometra. She did not loose too many dogs that way, but some.

      So if you are asking if you should do surgery, then yes. If you are saying you cannot afford surgery and you want to know if it is hopeless, then no. Probably, there is hope. Which, as you know, is my take on most illnesses. I believe the body wants to be alive and healthy. It will do anything it can to come to balance and health if you help it and get out of the way.

      So a dog might get better with antibiotics and no surgery. Each dog is different and each condition is different. Since I am not there with your dog, I cannot say how sick she feels. These are great questions for her veterinarian. Let us know how she does!

      -Doc Truli

    • Lisa permalink
      December 28, 2011 8:53 am

      my dog is in the vets now having an emergency hysterectomy.she started with ptometra a couple of weeks ago,was given antibiotics and the infection-seemed-to clear up.she stopped the antibiotics on xmas eve and yesterday (27th Dec ’11)she was swollen and very ill.the infection had returned with a vengeance. the infection will always come back so your dog needs spaying as soon as otherwise you could risk her life

  5. marne permalink
    July 14, 2011 3:30 pm

    Our 9 year old lab died from this. She had very regular veterinary care. And I took her in at the first sign she didn’t feel good, just to be told that I was over-reacting. 6 trips in 3 days to the vet before she figured it out and then it was way too late. I wish I had seen this article long before now, It could have saved our precious dogs life. We saw our vet many times a year and no one ever suggested spaying her. She didn’t come into heat very often, maybe once every few years and she really didn’t show many signs when she did, so we didn’t want to put her through a sugery she didn’t need. If only we had known. We are still devastated.

    • July 17, 2011 1:14 pm

      Dear Marne,
      I am so, so sorry your girl had to get sick like that.

      I think many veterinarians assume everyone knows they should spay their dog, and after a few years, they must think you just don’t want to, so they do not bring it up! I believe any person, given the facts, or shown the risk, would logically spay their dog. So if I meet someone who says no or blows me off when I explain why they should spay their dog, I keep trying to explain, show, demonstrate in different ways. Basically, I assume I failed to communicate and keep trying.

      I did treat a dog for pyometra years ago that had never shown any heat and was sold as a spayed dog. Since she never showed and had “silent heats,” it was tricky to figure out. It took me about 30 minutes of thinking “if this dog wasn’t already spayed, I’d swear this was a closed pyometra.” When I realized I had no written veterinary proof of spaying, I thought, “maybe they lied.” And sure enough, there was a gigantic infected uterus at surgery!

      Any time I see an ill, older, unspayed dog, I think pyometra first. First. Not after 3 days. No matter if the dog just ate a whole chicken off the grill, no matter if she is known to have bladder stones, no matter if she was hit by a car the day before. I always suspect pyometra because it is so likely in an unspayed female dog, the more the years roll by.

      Anyone out there reading this, figure out a way to get your dog spayed to save yourself some massive heartbreak.

      My condolences, Marne, on your loss of your friend and companion.

      Doc Truli

  6. Vibha permalink
    May 11, 2011 11:43 pm

    excellent article!I’m getting my 16month labrador spayed asap.Don’t ever want her to undergo what Maggi did.


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