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Pyometra

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Iowa State University's College of Veterinary Medicine student Amy Gansemer presents a case of Pyometra in a canine patient as seen at Iowa Veterinary Specialties.

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Pyometra
Recognition and Treatment
Pyometra: a life-threatening uterine
infection resulting from hormonal changes in
the female reproductive tract
“Pyo” = Pus “Metra” = Uterus
Healthy uterus Pus-filled uterus
(Pyometra)
How does bacteria get into the
uterus?
• When the cervix is open during a normal part of
the female’s reproductive cycle, bacteria from the
vagina can enter the uterus.
• The uterus is usually unfavorable for bacterial
survival but in certain animals, the uterine wall
becomes thickened and collects mucous secretions
– leading to the perfect environment for bacterial
growth.
Two Types of Pyometra:
• “Open:” the cervix (entrance to the uterus) remains open. Pus
from the uterus is free to drain out through the vagina and is
noticeable under the animal’s tail.
• “Closed:” the cervix remains shut and pus cannot drain from
the uterus. The abdomen becomes distended with the pus-
filled uterine horns.
Why is a pyometra so
dangerous?
• The uterus becomes so full with pus that it can rupture and
put your pet at risk for septic shock.
• The toxins produced by the bacterial infection leak into the
bloodstream and can severely damage your pet’s other organs
- especially the kidney which loses the ability to preserve the
body’s water (which makes the animal drink more water and
urinate more frequently).
Signs to look out for:
• Increased water consumption
• Increased urination
• Distended abdomen or purulent (pus) vaginal discharge
• Lethargy
• Vomiting
• Loss of appetite

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Pyometra

  • 2. Pyometra: a life-threatening uterine infection resulting from hormonal changes in the female reproductive tract “Pyo” = Pus “Metra” = Uterus Healthy uterus Pus-filled uterus (Pyometra)
  • 3. How does bacteria get into the uterus? • When the cervix is open during a normal part of the female’s reproductive cycle, bacteria from the vagina can enter the uterus. • The uterus is usually unfavorable for bacterial survival but in certain animals, the uterine wall becomes thickened and collects mucous secretions – leading to the perfect environment for bacterial growth.
  • 4. Two Types of Pyometra: • “Open:” the cervix (entrance to the uterus) remains open. Pus from the uterus is free to drain out through the vagina and is noticeable under the animal’s tail. • “Closed:” the cervix remains shut and pus cannot drain from the uterus. The abdomen becomes distended with the pus- filled uterine horns.
  • 5. Why is a pyometra so dangerous? • The uterus becomes so full with pus that it can rupture and put your pet at risk for septic shock. • The toxins produced by the bacterial infection leak into the bloodstream and can severely damage your pet’s other organs - especially the kidney which loses the ability to preserve the body’s water (which makes the animal drink more water and urinate more frequently).
  • 6. Signs to look out for: • Increased water consumption • Increased urination • Distended abdomen or purulent (pus) vaginal discharge • Lethargy • Vomiting • Loss of appetite
  • 7. Risk Factors • Usually seen in intact female dogs - but also occurs in cats and small "pocket pets." • More common in dogs > 5 years old, with an increased chance in those that have never given birth. • Breeding dogs that have received progesterone or estrogen shots are at a higher risk.
  • 8. Meet Bailey 11 year old Golden Retriever Bailey’s owners noticed that she had been drinking and urinating more often than normal. They also noticed that her abdomen was distended and firm to the touch. They brought her into IVS for treatment.
  • 9. How IVS helped Bailey • The doctors at IVS recognized Bailey’s symptoms and took diagnostic radiographs of her abdomen, which revealed enlarged uterine horns. • Bloodwork showed that her white blood cell count was extremely elevated, signifying that she was fighting a severe infection. • Bailey was quickly diagnosed with a Closed Pyometra. • She was taken into surgery where a successful emergency ovariohysterectomy was performed (removal of the uterus & ovaries).
  • 10. Recovery • Bailey stayed at IVS for 3 days while she recovered with pain management, limited activity, and intravenous fluid therapy. • Her vitals were monitored closely and she was started on broad-spectrum antibiotics to prevent any further infection. • Bailey made a speedy recovery and returned home - much to her excitement!
  • 11. Prevention • Spaying (ovariohysterectomy) is the only effective way to prevent a pyometra. Spaying at a young age also helps prevent other reproductive diseases and makes recovery faster & easier. • For breeding animals, keep a close watch on reproductive cycles and any changes in behavior.
  • 12. Works Cited • Côté, Etienne. Clinical Veterinary Advisor, Dogs and Cats. St. Louis, Missouri: Elsevier Mosby, 2011. Print. • Plunkett, Signe J. Emergency Procedures for the Small Animal Veterinarian. Toronto: Saunders Elsevier, 2013. Print.