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Metritis in Dogs

By: Dr. Bari Spielman

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Metritis is the medical term used to describe inflammation of the uterus. This uterine disease is similar to pyometra but it has some differences. Unlike pyometra, metritis is most often a bacterial uterine infection that develops in the immediate post partum (after giving birth) period and occasionally after abortion or breeding. It is most often associated with retained fetuses or placentas.

What to Watch For

  • Fever
  • Dehydration
  • Depression
  • Decreased appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fast heart rate
  • Vulvar discharge

    Diagnosis

    Tests may include:

  • Complete blood count that shows an elevated white blood cell count

  • Biochemical profile that may be normal or show elevations in liver and kidney values, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), and/or electrolyte abnormalities

  • Radiographs (X-rays) that reveal retained fetuses or an enlarged uterus

  • Ultrasound that may show fluid accumulation within the uterus, retained fetuses and/or placentas, as well as fluid within the abdominal cavity in the cases of uterine rupture

  • Vaginal cytology and culture that often reveal a multitude of white blood cells and bacteria

    Treatment

  • Intravenous fluid and electrolyte therapy

  • Antibiotics

  • Evacuation of uterine contents

  • Medical options include oxytocin or prostaglandins, which are drugs that stimulate contraction of the uterus.

  • Surgery, specifically ovariohysterectomy, is most often the treatment of choice, once the patient is stabilized and a good candidate for general anesthesia.

    Home Care and Prevention

    There is no home care for metritis; this condition requires veterinary care. After diagnoses, make sure your dog receives all prescribed medication. Dogs that are spayed as part of the treatment usually do quite well.

    Metritis may become chronic and cause infertility in breeding bitches, when ovariohysterectomy is not an option and medical therapy is not properly instituted.

    Since metritis is a uterine disease, spaying your dog is the only way to prevent disease.

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