Pyometra is a disease of the reproductive system that usually affects unspayed female dogs. Coming on slowly over weeks and months, the disease starts off with symptoms such as vaginal discharge between heat cycles, depression, lack of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea. If left untreated, it can even be fatal. Today we will answer FAQs regarding this infection and also consider Pyometra treatment without surgery options which pet owners can consider.
Who does Pyometra affect?
As stated above, Pyometra usually affects female dogs who are unneutered or who have undergone many heat cycles without being bred. Today, holistic vets[i] believe that commercial dog foods containing high amounts of meats pumped with hormones and antibiotics could also be responsible for this disease. The inorganic meat and meat byproducts along with fillers, preservatives and dyes can cause the uterus to malfunction.
- Reddish, brownish or whitish discharge from vagina between heats
- Lack of appetite
- Aggression towards other dogs
- Excess water intake followed by excessive urination
- Complications-Pyometra, if left untreated, can cause a crisis that requires emergency surgery to remove the uterus that has become enlarged or distended due to fluid accumulation. Complications can also include uterine rupture, peritonitis and septic shock.
The best way to prevent Pyometra is to get your bitch spayed, preferably before her first heat cycle. If you plan not to have her mated, this is the only way to prevent this disease. This is because, in aged female dogs, the reducing hormone levels can make her very susceptible to developing pyometra. Secondly, you must feed her high quality dog food. Home cooked dog food is the best-it helps you control ingredients and avoid artificial dyes, preservatives and hormones that are found in commercial, low quality dog foods. We have discussed some homemade dog food recipes here.
Some homeopathic medicines can help be useful as Pyometra treatment without surgery and are most beneficial to dogs that aren’t so severely affected by the infection. These include Pulsatilla 30C potency, recommended for bitches having excessive thirst and thick yellow vaginal discharge. Another remedy is Sepia 30 C for bitches who do not respond to Pulsatilla treatment. This remedy is usually sufficient to avoid pyometra surgery. Eventually though, you must get your bitch spayed.
Vitamins and Minerals
Many vitamin and mineral supplements can prevent uterine and urinary symptoms in female dogs:
- Vitamin C- For Pyo and UTI symptoms, administer 500 mg of vitamin C with some chicken broth. During an attack, give 250 mg of vitamin C with veterinary care. For medium breeds give up to 1000mg of Vitamin C per day and for large dogs, give 500 mg thrice per day.
- Vitamin E- 100 IU daily for a month
- B complex- 10 mg per day
- Vitamin D- 400 IU per day
- Cod liver oil- 1 tsp or 10000 IU of vitamin A
Adjust dose based on your pet’s weight.
Can pyometra cure itself?
As stated above, some homeopathic remedies can be useful in treating pyometra without surgery. However, in majority of the cases, these could still lead to a crisis. If this occurs, your dog will need veterinary care, possibly surgery, along with high quality food and a regimen of daily vitamin supplements. Pyometra emergency surgery is generally similar to spaying/neutering surgery. However, in some cases, due to the distended and swollen uterus, such a surgery can run into complications. Pyometra dog surgery cost done in emergency is often higher than the cost of spaying surgery. Therefore, it is best to have your bitch spayed to avoid these complications. Spaying also curbs behavioral issues like the tendency to run and mate, as well as excessive barking etc. Additionally, it can prevent mammary cancer and save you a lot of trips to the vet.
Related content: How to care for your dog after spaying/neutering
How long can a dog live with pyometra?
The answer depends as it varies from dog to dog. Pyometra generally progresses very rapidly as the uterus fills up with fluid contaminated by bacteria. Dogs with pyometra can quickly become dehydrated and go into shock or, worse, coma. They could also get very aggressive towards humans and other dogs.
Pyometra survival rate
Considering the seriousness of the infection, the survival rate[ii] of pyometra is good and mortality rates are usually between 3 to 20%. However, in case of complications, mortality rates are higher.
Pyometra surgery can be very painful for the dog and could cause several hassles for dog owners. Therefore, it is best to have your pet spayed as soon as possible to keep your bitch healthy and happy for years to come.
[i] Dr. Pitcairn’s New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats By Richard H. Pitcairn, Susan Hubble Pitcairn
[ii] Theriogenology, An Issue of Veterinary Clinics of North America By Bruce W. Christensen