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Pyometra in Dogs

By: Dr. Cathy Reese

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Pyometra is the medical term used to describe an infected uterus. This infection can be open (draining pus from the vagina) or closed (pus is contained in the uterus by a closed cervix).

Pyometra can be a life threatening infection and may even require emergency surgery. A closed pyometra is more of an emergency than an open pyometra, since there is no drainage of pus in a closed pyometra. If left untreated, dogs become very ill and some may not survive. With early treatment, about 90 percent of affected dogs recover.

Since pyometra is an infection of the uterus, all unspayed dogs are susceptible. Usually, pyometra occurs within eight weeks of the dog's last heat cycle due to increased levels of the hormone progesterone.

What to Watch For

  • Vaginal discharge
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Depression
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drinking excessive amounts of water and urinating often


    In order to diagnose pyometra, your veterinarian will begin by asking you many questions to develop a complete history of the course of the disease. These questions may include:

  • When did the problem start?
  • When was your pet's last heat cycle?
  • Have your pet's drinking and urination habits changed recently?
  • Has there been any vaginal discharge and what did it look like?
  • What have your pet's appetite and demeanor been like?

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