Bravery Award – April 2023

by | May 3, 2023

In her twilight years, Missy the 15 year old Pomeranian x Jack Russell Terrier already had plenty going on with her health with the beginnings of kidney disease, and also heart disease to boot.  However, after her last heat cycle, her owners noticed that she had extremely smelly discharge coming from her vulva.  On top of that, Missy was lethargic and had very pale gums.  Her owners were very concerned that Missy might be in a bad way and immediately presented to the team at Berwick.  After a sample from her vulva was taken, some bloods drawn and an ultrasound performed, it confirmed what was already suspected by Dr. Tracy, Missy had a pyometra and would require immediate surgery.


Pyometra is a serious bacterial infection of the uterus that can affect female dogs, especially those who are not speyed. It is characterized by the accumulation of pus within the uterus, which can lead to severe illness and even death if left untreated.

Miss was suffering from an “open” pyometra, which refers to a condition in which the cervix remains open, allowing the pus and other fluids to drain out of the uterus. This may initially appear to be a less severe form of pyometra, as the drainage can relieve pressure on the uterus and reduce the risk of rupture. However, open pyometra can still be a life-threatening condition if not treated promptly and appropriately.

Some common symptoms of open pyometra in dogs include:

  • Vaginal discharge that may be foul-smelling or bloody
  • Increased drinking and urination
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Pale gums
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Fever or hypothermia (low body temperature)

Missy’s owners had multiple reasons (including her health conditions), for choosing to not desex Missy earlier in her life.  However, this is a cautionary tale for the vital importance of neutering wherever possible for the ongoing health of our pets.  Prevention through early speying is the best way to avoid the risks and complications associated with pyometra, along with many other disease processes, especially ones affecting female dogs.

Luckily for Missy, the quick and decisive action by her owners and the skill and care of the team, meant that she made it through her anaesthetic and hysterectomy successfully, and is recovering with her furry siblings and parents at home.  Here’s hoping for a quieter time in her twilight years from now on for beautiful little Missy Moo!

If you suspect that your dog may have a pyometra, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately. Treatment typically involves emergency stabilization, which may include IV fluids, antibiotics, and other supportive measures. Surgery to remove the infected uterus is usually necessary to fully treat the condition and prevent recurrence.

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