Pyometra is a serious infection of the womb resulting in the accumulation of pus within the cavity of this organ. Pyometra is a common disease in un-neutered female dogs that requires major surgery to cure. Each time a female has a season (usually about twice a year) she undergoes all the hormonal changes associated with pregnancy – whether she is pregnant or not. The changes in the womb that occur with each cycle make infection more likely with age. The disease often occurs in the weeks or months following a heat.

Signs include licking her back end more than normal, lack of appetite, increased thirst, sometimes the pus escapes from the womb and a reddish-brown or yellow discharge is seen (but not always), as she gets more ill she may start to vomit. Diagnosis is suspected based on symptoms shown, confirmed via blood tests, x-ray &/or ultrasound.

Treatment is ovariohysterectomy or spey. This is the same operation as carried out to routinely neuter a female cat or dog, however in a sick animal suffering from pyometra it carries much more risk and expense.

Most animals will die if surgery is not performed. Toxins will be released which will get into her blood stream, eventually these toxins can cause kidney failure. If you are not intending to have puppies from your dog then she should be neutered at as young an age as possible. If neutered before her first season, she is also protected against breast cancer developing later in life. Ask your vet for details about the best time to have your pet neutered.