Kira is a 13 year old female Siberian Husky. She presented at our clinic having been much quieter than normal and eating less over the previous 3 days, and in the previous couple of days the owners had noticed she was drinking more than usual. She had a high temperature and also had a vaginal discharge. She had not been speyed. Her last heat was about 6 months earlier.
These signs were typical of pyometra, which is an infection in the uterus. The uterus typically enlarges to many times it's normal size. Blood tests and radiographs were taken to confirm this.
Blood tests showed a slight increase in the urea level and the white cell count (showing an infection). This condition can potentially damage the kidneys if not treated early enough. Radiographs revealed a distended tubular structure which was typical of pyometra. The repeated exposure of the uterus to increased oestrogen and then progesterone levels in an entire (undesexed) female leads to cystic endometrial hyperplasia and this creates an ideal environment for bacterial ascending from the vagina to replicate and cause an infection in the uterus.
Kira was placed on an intravenous drip, given antibiotics and pain relief and once rehydrated was speyed. The uterus was grossly enlarged and filled with infection.
Within 24 hours after surgery, Kira was discharged from hospital a much happier dog. She was eating normally and back to her usual bouncy self.
The arrows in the above radiograph are pointing to the enlarged uterus.
We do recommend if female dogs are not being used for breeding, they should be speyed at 6 months of age. Speying early also helps prevent mammary cancer later on in life.