Womb Infections in Dogs

A womb infection, also known as uterus infection or pyometra, is an infection that may be met in female canines, typically over the age of 7. Unspayed canines are more exposed to getting a womb infection.

Causes of Womb Infection

A womb infection in canines is caused by bacteria, more precisely the Escherichia coli, which are usually found in the womb. When they grow in excess they can cause an infection. The infection is most commonly met after the heat cycle, approximately 6 to 8 weeks after the bleeding stops. The reason why the bacteria may overgrow is the fact that after the heat cycle, the hormones are at a higher level. The bacteria may also be in excess if the dog receives hormonal treatment with estrogen or progesterone. Dogs that are spayed are not at risk of developing pyometra.

Womb Infection Symptoms

The symptoms will be visible as soon as the bacteria in the womb are out of balance. The symptoms may include:

  • A consistent discharge from the vagina
  • Bleeding from the vagina, even if the dog is not supposed to have the heat cycle
  • High temperature
  • Increased frequency of urination
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lack of energy

If the infection is not treated, the infection can cause the vagina to close. The dog may also suffer from septicemia, leading to sudden collapse and even coma. The vaginal discharge is present in all dogs affected by womb infection, but the other symptoms may not necessarily be present.

Diagnosis of Uterus Infection

The womb infection can be detected by performing an analysis of the uterus. The vet will perform an analysis of the vaginal discharge and possibly some blood tests to establish if the infection has affected the dog's system in any way. If the dog has septicemia, the white blood cells will be higher than normal.

Treatment for Uterus Infection

The uterus infection may be treated with a cure of aggressive antibiotics, which can eliminate the excessive bacteria and reestablish a normal balance in the composition of the cells populating the dog's uterus. If the dog is affected by septicemia, the vet will administer fluids and will try to eliminate the infection from the blood.

Some vets may recommend the extraction of the womb, as dogs that have developed this infection are very likely to become infected again. The recurrence of the infection can be problematic to cure and may lead to complications.

The uterus removal surgery is successful in 95 percent of cases, but it is not recommended in dogs that are very old and are not likely to react well to anesthesia. If the surgery is successful, the dog will not have additional complications, but she will not be able to become pregnant. Dogs that are used for breeding should not get surgery, but rather antibiotic treatment, so that the dog can become pregnant. However, breeding is not recommended 3 to 5 months after a womb infection, to allow the dog to recover.