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Why does your veterinarian recommend your dog or cat be Spayed?

Normal Uterus


There is a bit of controversy right now in veterinary medicine: the benefits vs risks of spaying your pet. Our veterinarians at Hoffman Estates Animal Hospital recommend spaying prior to the first heat cycle. Heat cycles not only can be messy and lead to unwanted pregnancies, but each heat cycle also increases your pet’s risk of breast cancer and a dangerous infection called pyometra.

A Pyometra is an infection in a dog’s or cat’s uterus, in other words the uterus has abscessed and filled with pus. The bacteria can leak into the bloodstream and cause life threatening issues. Eventually the uterus dies and the dead tissue and pus are left in the abdomen. The best way to prevent a pyometra is to spay your pet.

There are two forms of pyometra: open and closed. The closed version is less common, and symptoms include lack of appetite, vomiting, fever, and excessive drinking. The pet tends to be sicker with a closed pyometra because the toxins stay in the body. In the more common open pyometra the symptoms are lack of appetite, vomiting, excessive water drinking, fever, and often a smelly discharge from the vulva.

Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose a pyometra based on your pets’ history, symptoms, physical exam, blood work, and xrays or ultrasound.

The only treatment for pyometra is surgery to remove the infected uterus. This is an EMERGENCY SURGERY!!! It can be a dangerous and complicated surgery since the pet is usually very ill and there is a risk of uterine rupture. Usually, the patient is hospitalized after the surgery on intravenous pain medicine and antibiotics. Antibiotics and pain medicine is continued orally at home. Strict rest is needed to allow the pet to heal after the surgery. Blood work is monitored after surgery to ensure that the toxins didn’t do any damage to internal organs.

As you can see, it is much safer, cheaper, and easier to spay your dog early rather than wait for a life-threatening infection!!!

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