A pyometra is an infection inside the womb. Any unneutered dog is at risk of developing a pyometra, especially if they are over six years old.
Hormonal changes during a season/heat put your dog at risk of a womb infection. Once the heat is over, the majority return to normal, but unfortunately, some dogs develop complications, which lead to an infection (pyometra). As a pyometra develops, the womb fills with pus. A pyometra can lead to blood poisoning, kidney failure, peritonitis and even death.
We talk about a pyometra as either ‘open’ or ‘closed’. An open pyometra is when the womb entrance is open, meaning you are likely to see blood and pus coming from your dog’s vulva. A closed pyometra is when the womb entrance is shut; meaning you are unlikely to see any discharge. A closed pyometra is particularly dangerous because it is at risk of bursting.
It’s very rare, but occasionally a neutered dog will develop a specific type of pyometra called a stump pyometra – read more below.
Hormone therapy used to treat an unwanted pregnancy increases the chance of a pyometra.