Pyometra is a serious disease of intact female dogs and cats related to hormonal changes within the reproductive tract. These hormonal changes allow the accumulation of bacteria and pus in the uterus.
In some animals, the uterus responds abnormally to the hormones produced during the “heat” cycle causing a secretion of mucus and inflammatory cells to collect in the uterus. A bacterial infection then develops--which can spread throughout the body. If this happens, the condition then becomes a form of “blood poisoning”. This results in widespread infection throughout the body--leading to shock and death. Kidney infections often develop.
Pyometra can be fatal!
Symptoms Of Pyometra:
Signs of the infection include:
- loss of appetite,
- excessive thirst,
- increased urination,
- and/or vaginal discharges of blood or pus.
Signs may gradually occur over several weeks or months. Excessive thirst is often the first sign.
Diagnosis Of Pyometra:
Pyometra is diagnosed by clinical signs, a history of not being spayed, laboratory testing of blood and urine, and sometimes exploratory surgery. Radiographs (x-rays) and ultrasonic examination may also be of benefit.
Often the history will reveal that the affected cat has been "in heat" recently.
Treatment Of Pyometra:
The most common treatment is ovariohysterectomy (spaying), which removes the infected uterus and the rest of the female reproductive tract. This surgery can be dangerous because of the pre-existing infection, but is often your cat’s best chance of survival. Fluids, antibiotics and other critical care procedures are needed to combat shock, infection, and dehydration.
Antibiotics and/or hormone therapy have been used successfully in some cases without performing surgery. However, these treatments are often not effective. Even when the illness is successfully treated with these medications, often the pyometra returns with the next heat cycle, unless your cat is spayed in the interim.
Prevention Of Pyometra:
Prevention of pymetra can easily be accomplished by spaying your female cat. This is one of the many benefits of having your cat spayed.