Sasha is a 10-year-old, female unspayed Siberian Husky who presented to our hospital due to lethargy and vomiting. Sasha’s physical examination revealed her to be quite dehydrated and she was immediately placed on intravenous fluids to correct this. Abdominal x-rays were performed and revealed a greatly enlarged uterus. Based on her history and physical exam findings, a pyometra or infection of the uterus was suspected.
Pyometra is considered a potentially life threatening emergency. Pets will often appear lethargic, lose their appetite, vomit and appear excessively thirsty. If left untreated, the infected uterus can become so large that it may burst releasing the infection throughout the abdomen. Treatment for a pyometra involves surgically removing the infected uterus (ovariohysterectomy – also called spaying) preferably before the uterus ruptures.
Sasha’s condition continued to deteriorate and therefore emergency exploratory surgery was performed, confirming a pyometra. Unfortunately for Sasha, her uterus had already ruptured and there was evidence of infection and damage throughout her abdominal organs. Her uterus was removed and the abdomen was washed thoroughly with saline. Sasha stayed in the hospital for several days after her surgery and made a full and complete recovery!
We are happy to report that Sasha is doing well and now has a new lease on life! Her 10-year-old littermate Nikita was also spayed shortly after Sasha’s surgery to prevent her from having to go through the same ordeal. Both dogs are now happy and healthy.
Any unspayed female cat or dog is at risk for a pyometra, with the risk increasing with age. These uterine infections are often caused by E.coli which can also damage the kidneys and lead to kidney failure. If you do not intend to breed your pet, the best way to prevent this life threatening condition is to have her spayed. Spaying your pet helps to prevent the possibility of uterine and ovarian cancers and spaying her before her first heat will also reduce her chances of developing mammary cancer later in life.