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Pyometra Kills Unspayed Dogs
February is National Spa and Neuter Month. Many people still think that they should let their dog go through heat once or even give her a spay before she is spayed. This is wrong. Spaying a dog before her first litter means she will not suffer from mammary gland tumors, breast cancer and many other problems. One of those problems is pyometra.
Pyometra is a terrible disease in which the uterus fills with pus and then bursts. The results are the same as when the appendix ruptures in humans – peritonitis and death. Basically, the infection goes into the abdomen, then into the body, and the dog goes septic and dies of shock.
Pyometra occurs when a dog goes through heat and does not become pregnant. Cysts form on the inside of the uterus due to hormonal imbalance in the dog. At the same time, the uterine wall thickens. Cysts produce a large amount of fluid that builds up in the uterus, causing discomfort to the dog. They also enlarge the uterus from two to four ounces to one to four pounds in a 40 pound dog.
Eventually, fluid comes out of the vagina and the dog licks itself in an attempt to stay clean. Bacteria from her saliva travel through the vagina to the uterus and cause infection. The body closes the cervix (or opening to the uterus) in an attempt to stop the flow of bacteria. Unfortunately, placing a cork in a bottle of champagne and then shaking it vigorously has the effect – the uterus bursts.
All that fluid, infection, and other stuff spills into the abdominal cavity. The abdominal cavity then becomes infected and the dog dies within about 48 hours. However, if the uterus does not rupture, the body tries to remove all the waste and fluid through the kidneys. The kidneys become overloaded and the dog goes into uremic poisoning, a fancy word for kidney failure.
Symptoms of pyometra are similar to many diseases. If your dog is drinking more water than usual and having to go out more than usual, has a low-grade fever, has a swollen abdomen, vaginal discharge and is not eating much, you should take her to the vet. . This is a true emergency and if it happens over the weekend, go to an emergency vet.
The vet will put your dog on intravenous fluids and antibiotics for several days. Then, when the dog is strong enough, the vet will find her and remove the organ problem. Sometimes spaying is necessary to save a dog’s life. This surgery is difficult on a very sick dog, but easy when the dog is healthy.
Spaying your dog now will completely prevent pyometra. Although all surgery has risks, it is one of the safest surgeries performed on a dog. Do you love your dog enough to complete it?
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