How Desexing Can Help to Treat a Life-Threatening Condition in Dogs

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Obviously, the purpose of desexing a dog is to remove a dog's reproductive abilities, which eliminates the possibility of unwanted litters. But pet desexing can also be a crucial part of treating a potentially life-threatening condition that affects female dogs. What is pyometra, and how does pet desexing help to treat it?

A Uterine Infection

Pyometra is a serious infection of the uterus. It can affect many different mammals (including humans) but is more common in dogs. Each time a female dog goes into heat, the lining of her uterus changes—developing tissues that will support the unborn puppies. As her heat cycle dissipates, the uterus doesn't entirely restore itself. With each heat cycle, the uterus changes, however subtly. These changes can ultimately weaken the uterus, making it more prone to infections. Pyometra is essentially an infected womb.


As the uterus slowly fills with pus, your dog will become increasingly unwell. She may even leak pus from her genitals. She will be lethargic, listless and will begin to regularly vomit. Additionally, she will be dehydrated and will increase her water intake to compensate. If your female dog is not desexed and displays any of these symptoms, she needs immediate veterinary care.

Immediate Treatment

Depending on the progression of your dog's pyometra, the condition may need to be treated aggressively. Your dog may in fact be experiencing septic shock. She will be given intravenous fluids to maintain her hydration and will need antibiotics. These can also be administered intravenously if she's unable to receive medication orally. As soon as she has been stabilised, she will need to be desexed.


Desexing (removal of the ovaries) will immediately halt your dog's heat cycles. This prevents the potentially destructive effects of these hormonal changes on her uterus. However, as the damage has already been done (leaving her with an infected uterus), a more comprehensive desexing will be needed. Your dog's uterus will also be removed—with extreme care. It's filled with pus, and caution is needed to prevent it from rupturing during surgery.

One of the best ways to prevent pyometra is to have your dog desexed. However, that ship has long sailed by the time the condition develops. Be sure to follow your vet's aftercare instructions to ensure your dog makes a full recovery. What about any female dogs who may become a member of your family in the future? It's in their best interests to have them desexed. 

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