Most pet owners understand the importance of spay and neuter in addressing the pet overpopulation problem and reducing the number of unwanted animals in shelters. But spay and neuter also have many health benefits for dogs and cats. Did you know that unspayed female dogs are at increased risk for a dangerous health condition called pyometra? Here are some facts about pyometra, and how spaying your dog can help prevent it.
Pyometra is an infection of the uterus, triggered by changes to the uterine lining. It’s caused by repeated exposure to the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Unspayed female dogs aged 6 and older are at an increased risk for developing pyometra, particularly if they’ve never had puppies. Symptoms include swollen abdomen, vaginal discharge or closed cervix, lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, and increased thirst and urination.
A closed cervix is considered to be a veterinary emergency because the accumulating pus and fluids from the infection cannot exit your dog’s body, causing toxins to enter the bloodstream. The uterus can also rupture, emptying bacteria into the body. Early-stage pyometra often goes unrecognized and dogs will be taken to the vet in the later stages of the condition. The most common treatment for late-stage pyometra is a complete hysterectomy (surgery to remove the uterus and ovaries).
Spaying your dog when she is young is the most important thing you can do to prevent her from coming down with this dangerous condition…and to save yourself thousands of dollars in emergency veterinary bills.
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