February 25, 2021
Case Study: Pyometra in a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel
"Bailey" is a very sweet 9-year-old female King Charles Cavalier Spaniel
On Monday, February 15, 2021 she came to us with a history of not eating with no energy. Since Wednesday, February 10, she had been vomiting up bile and only eating tiny amounts of food while drinking a little water. At home, her owner noticed that her belly was very hard. In addition, she was also having loose stool but no diarrhea.
At her visit, Bailey was dehydrated, pale, and very sick with a low temperature. Her abdomen was also bloated and very sensitive to light palpation. Bailey's owner told us that her last couple of heat cycles had seemed "off" with heavy bleeding, short cycling, and unusual timing for length. She had no discharge from her vagina during the exam, but as sick as she was, we were worried about a possible uterine infection called a Pyometra.
We confirmed that Bailey's uterus was enlarged by performing radiographs. We diagnosed Bailey at this point with a Pyometra and recommended emergency surgery to remove her infected uterus, all before it could rupture inside her abdomen and prior to the infection entering her bloodstream, causing septicemia.
With as sick as Bailey was we were worried that the uterus could already have potentially leaked into her abdomen or that the infection could already be causing sepsis. Bailey's blood work showed severe infection with very high white blood cell count, anemia, inflammation, and dehydration. As a result, Bailey's owner gave consent for the surgery to remove her uterus.
Bailey was given a large amount of medicine and IV fluids to help keep her stable during the surgery and fight the infection. Fortunately, her surgery went smoothly, and her uterus was removed without issue. Bailey was kept overnight on supportive care with IV antibiotics, fluids, and other medications to help her fight infection and heal.
On February 16, we sent Bailey, who was eating again, home to her owner and on a large number of medications to fight the infection we believe went from her uterus into her blood.
As you can see Bailey's uterus was very engorged and in danger of rupturing at any moment inside of her. If we had waited any longer and her uterus ruptured, Bailey's chances of survival would have been almost zero. Bailey's uterus alone weighed 2.46 pounds. This life-threatening condition is easily prevented by spaying.
There are two types of Pyometra: closed and open. The terms refer to whether or not the cervix is open or closed. In an open Pyometra, the uterus does not have the potential to rupture internally because the infection is able to leak out the vagina from the uterus. These are easier to diagnose because the puss coming from the vagina is often quite starking and very smelly. Cases of closed Pyometra can be harder to diagnose because there will be no obvious infection when looking at the outside of the animal. However, they are actually more dangerous and life-threatening because the uterus will continue to swell with infection inside the animal, and if there is no escape, the uterus itself will eventually rupture inside the abdomen, releasing all of that infection inside.
Pyometra is a condition in which the female dogs or cats often have a false pregnancy and become infected. The body then does not clean out the uterus as it normally would because it believes that the animal is pregnant and keeps the infection safe inside itself. The infection continues to grow and will make the pet extremely ill since the bacteria is likely to jump into the bloodstream and lead to a bacterial blood infection called Sepsis.
Last we heard, Bailey is still recovering at home.
And if you have any questions about spaying your pet or about Pyometra, feel free to call us at Carrollton Animal Hospital at (330) 627-4898 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
You can view images from this procedure below. Please note these images are graphic in nature and may not be appropriate for all viewers.