Following ovulation in bitches and queens, animals experience elevated levels of progesterone and the uterus is more susceptible to bacterial infection. Bacterial contamination in most cases is caused by the interaction of normal flora with parts of the urinary tract and is classified as pyometra. Pyometra is more commonly observed in bitches or animals undergoing progesterone treatment for various ailments and even mis-mate in some cases.
Pyometra, as with any other bacterial infection, can often lead to vaginal discharge. In some cases however, more commonly referred to as closed-cervix pyometra, vaginal discharge is non-existent and can often lead to more serious complications. Other common symptoms of pyometra include, weight loss, diarrhea, fever and unusual urination patterns.
In identifying pyometra, urinalysis and blood work are viewed as the most common diagnostic methods. In more complicated cases, veterinarians may resort to the aid of abdominal x-rays or even ultrasound in pinpointing the extent and exact location of the infection.
Once identified, pyometra is treated with a dose of intravenous antibiotics. Due to the nature of infection, animals are also hydrated with fluids. In extreme cases, ovariohysterectomy is also an option, although not an optimal one for owners with plans to breed their animals. In such cases, owners may choose to elect prostaglandin f2 alpha (PGF2 alpha) therapy instead. PGF2 alpha treatment is effective through a mechanism of excavating uterine material and is highly contraindicated for animals already pregnant. Following PGF2 alpha therapy, some animals may experience restlessness, vomiting and excessive panting.
PGF2 alpha therapy is rather efficient and fast with regards to recovery time. Immediate improvements in appetite and activity levels in conjunction with the elimination of vaginal discharge are good indicators that the animal is progressing towards a healthy recovery. Follow up visits and the presence of a healthy estrous cycle further validates the animal’s full recovery.
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