Pyometra – Infected womb in dogs

I wanted to write about this condition because recently one of my gorgeous past Wishbone Wedding adventurer had to have surgery after being diagnosed with a pyometra luckily she has made a full recovery.

Not all dogs are as lucky! I would say on average where I work we see two pyometras per week but there has been the odd weekend I’ve worked where we’ve had three in one day.

What I am trying to say is that it is very common, it can be fatal and it could be avoided by neutering your pet when they are fit and well.

What is a Pyometra?

Pyometra is caused by a bacterial infection, most commonly E. coli, and often occurs a few weeks after a female has finished a season.

This is because being in season causes the animal’s body to go through hormonal changes which make the chance of infection much more likely. 

Symptom of a Pyometra

Early stages of pyo:

  • Licking back end more
  • Season lasts longer than usual
  • Off colour
  • Off food
  • Drinking and urinating more
  • Vomiting

Advanced stages of pyo:

  • Pus coming from vulva
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Collapse
  • Death

There are two forms of pyometra one is called a closed pyo which means the infection is locked inside and you won’t see a vulval discharge. This type of Pyo is the most fatal.

The second pyometra is called an open pyo meaning the pus drains out of the body via the vulva.


A veterinary surgeon will examine the patient then will use an ultrasound scan to confirm a diagnosis.


The patient will be put on to a drip, given antibiotics and pain relief. Once stable the dog will need a full general anaesthetic and the infected uterus will be removed. This means that the patient will be speyed.

Pyometra surgery is much more complicated than a routine spey.

To prevent Pyometra it is best that you spey your dog not only does speyng prevent unwanted pregnancy and stop pyometras. It cuts down the likelihood of your dog developing mammary tumours (breast cancer).

Every season that your dog has it increases the percentage of them developing mammary tumours. The other bonus is that dogs that are spayed do not have phantom pregnancies.

Post operative care:

  • Medication to go home with usually pain relief and antibiotics
  • Rest, lead walks only for two weeks, avoid jumping up etc
  • Prevent licking using a buster collar/comfy collar/medical T -shirt
  • Post op check when instructed.

When is best to get my dog routinely speyed?

It does depend on the breed and size but most vets will be happy to discuss this with you. most vets recommend speying before the first season.

If this time has passed already don’t panic! Dogs come into season every 6 months the optimum time to spey them is half way between this time i.e 3 months after the season and 3 months before the next season.

I completely understand why owners are concerned about putting the pets under anaesthetic and surgery especially those flat faced breeds.

I hope you found this blog post useful.

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