Two dogs saved from severe uterine infections

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Recently we have treated a Great Dane and a Dogue de Bordeaux with uterine infections. They were quite different cases and show a different perspective of a pet owner's dilemma when dealing with severe illness and treatment requirements.

The first case was a 10 year old Great Dane. She had been very lethargic and not keen to eat. There was no indication of any clinical signs that we would generally associate with a severe uterine infection. Given that she had not been desexed we were wary of the possibility of a uterine infection. An ultrasound was completed and we could see slight thickening of the uterus but minimal fluid within it (generally there is significant fluid build up visible within a uterus with pyometra). She had a fever and was put on antibiotics as a bacterial infection was suspected but not clearly obvious where. She responded well to antibiotics but a few weeks after finishing the course she become unwell again (less energetic and less eager to eat). A repeat ultrasound was performed and fluid within the uterus had increased indicating a uterine infection had progressed.  The dilemma the Great Dane's owners had was her age and whether they wanted to put her through surgery. We managed her for weeks with antibiotics until her owners decided that they couldn't say goodbye yet and agreed to surgery. She had surgery to remove the infected uterus along with her ovaries as is normally the case with a desexing. Our vets Drs Jacinta and  Paula with assistance from the nursing team of Rhonda and Nadine helped her through the anaesthetic and operation uneventfully. She had a smooth rapid recovery with reports she was back to being like a puppy again when checking her wound 10 days after surgery.

This case was an unusual example of a pyometra. Most patients are very sick and in a critical condition with pus built up in their uterus when they visit. In these cases antibiotics can struggle to control the infection with the risk of the uterus leaking resulting in a toxic and fatal blood infection is high. In these cases immediate supportive care and surgery to remove the uterus is required.

Our second case is an example of such a severe pyometra. While she was not at the grave end of the scale she was still a seriously sick dog. A 6 year old Dogue De Bordeaux presented being very lethargic, drinking a lot of water and having a discharge from her vulva. It was an obvious case of pyometra and the ultrasound showed an enlarged uterus filled with fluid. Luckily for her her cervix was not completed closed allowing some pus to escape and alert her owners that there was a health concern. In this case the owners only had the option of surgery or euthanasia as she would have died without surgery. We were happy that the decision was made to help her and give her the treatment she needed quickly.

The dog was given antibiotics through an intravenous drip to stop the septic shock progressing. A pre-anaesthetic blood screen indicated appropriate organ function to support her through an anaesthetic. This time surgery was done by Drs Jack and Paula again with Nadine and Rhonda as our nursing team. Surgery went well and her recovery was smooth and without incident. This is wonderful example of how a very sick pet can be turned around quickly by rapid detection and appropriate treatment of their disease.

Given their time again the owners of both of these dogs would have desexed their dogs at a younger age, once they were sure they were not to be used for breeding.

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