Prolapsed Uterus in Dogs

A prolapsed uterus may affect female canines, but it is a rare condition. The uterus is an organ that supports the fetuses when the dog is pregnant. The condition is likely to occur in dogs of all breeds and ages, after the delivery of the last puppy or during a pregnancy, leading to spontaneous abortion.

Causes of Prolapsed Uterus

A prolapse uterus occurs mostly in pregnant female dogs. The prolapse may occur during pregnancy, resulting in immediate abortion or it may occur after giving birth to all puppies. The possible causes of a prolapsed uterus include:

  • Dystochia, which is a complication that may appear during giving birth
  • If the placenta of some of the born puppies remain in the uterus after birth
  • Forcing the birth of the puppies through extraction using hands or various devices
  • Inflammation of the uterus (metritis)
  • Tumor in the reproductive system
  • Polyps or cysts

In some cases, the vet will not be able to determine a precise cause of the uterus protrusion, so the condition is considered idiopathic.

Symptoms of Prolapsed Uterus

The prolapsed uterus will manifest through a series of severe symptoms, which shouldn’t be ignored. Watch out for:

  • Continuous vaginal bleeding with blood clots or other vaginal discharges that typically contain pus
  • Swelling of the vulva
  • Constant licking the vulva
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Irritability and behavioral changes
  • Hiding
  • Lethargy
  • Elevated fever
  • Sepsis, only in advanced cases

Diagnosing Prolapsed Uterus

A prolapsed uterus can be diagnosed through a thorough examination of the reproductive system. The vet will detect a protruding mass from the pet’s vagina. Additional tests can be run including:

  • A complete blood count
  • A urine analysis
  • A biopsy if cancer is suspected

Management and Treatment Options

If your vet detects sepsis, this requires immediate treatment and possibly hospitalization. The dog will receive IV fluids and electrolyte therapy. Antibiotics will also be administered. If the dog doesn’t present symptoms of sepsis, the vet will try to return the uterus to a normal position. This may be accomplished in some cases immediately after the vet performs the initial examination. Some vets may recommend spaying the pet. This surgery will involve removing the ovaries and the uterus of the pet, making her sterile. If the pet is used for breeding purposes, the vet will avoid spaying and use this only as the last resort treatment. In some cases, only parts of the uterus will be removed. The dog will require rest and if a future pregnancy is intended, this should be planned at least 2 months after the dog is fully recovered.

Prevention of Prolapsed Uterus

Spaying is the only means to prevent the occurrence of a prolapsed uterus. If the dog is spayed, she cannot become pregnant. The spaying can be performed as soon as the dog becomes mature or has her first heat cycle.