Female dogs and cats who have not been spayed can develop a dangerous uterine infection called pyometra. Bacteria enter the pet’s uterus, causing it to fill with pus and become inflamed. If the pet’s cervix is closed and the pus cannot drain, it can become toxic, and your pet can become gravely ill very quickly.

In dogs, pyometra is a medical emergency that requires urgent treatment. In cats, the condition is generally not life-threatening, though veterinary care is still required.

Symptoms can vary widely, ranging from a swollen abdomen or vaginal discharge to general signs of unwellness, including lethargy, reluctance to eat, or vomiting. The condition is painful and can progress quickly, so if your unspayed female dog or cat seems ill, they need to see a veterinarian as soon as possible. Your veterinarian can diagnose pyometra using blood work, urinalysis, X-ray, and/or abdominal ultrasound.

Treatment generally involves surgery to completely remove the pet’s uterus, which eliminates the infection as well as any risk of future infection.

If your intact dog or cat seems unwell, please contact our team immediately. Our Union location is open seven days a week, 365 days a year, from 7 am – 11 pm, to provide emergency veterinary care for pets in need.