Just before Christmas Morgana became quite poorly. Like any other chihuahua she is very hygienic and licks to groom herself but one day we noticed that she looked like she might have a sore from licking herself a little too much. She had also started growling at my brothers and sister and became increasingly clingy to myself and my mum. After a couple of days it hadn't improved and we noticed tiny drops of what looked like very dark dried blood in her litter tray and we weren't expecting her to go into heat for another couple of months.
Convinced that she might have a bladder infection of some kind off we popped to the vets and thats when we got the news. The vet was pretty sure Morgana had pyometra; a very serious uterus infection in female dogs that have not been neutered. Pyometra is caused by bacteria infecting the uterus when it thickens because a dog does not have puppies. Morgana was only 2 so she hadn't had any puppies and because of Morganas small size I didn't really want her to be neutered.
To check if she did indeed have pyometra a swab was taken and it took a day to get back to us, however, the test results were inconclusive but now there really wasn't an option. Morgana was given a fortnights worth of antibiotics and painkillers to prepare her for surgery. Morgana is very shy and doesn't really like strangers so I was very lucky that it was Morganas favourite vet who would be carrying out the operation.
On the day I dropped her off in their care very early and signed some forms and agreed to a blood test prior to operating. When it came to picking her up she was very very very sleepy. Some dogs come around pretty quickly but Morgana pretty much spent the night sleeping it off. On top of that she had to wear a collar cone which she hated and eventually it seemed to bother her more than the actual stitches themselves.
When asking the vet about what they had found inside of Morgana I was pretty close to tears. After the operation her tummy was noticeably slimmer, it turned out she did indeed have pyometra which had filled most of her uterus with pus which had leaked elsewhere as well as the uterus. I was pretty shocked at what I was told, the only change in Morganas behaviour was an increase in personal grooming and over-protectiveness, both of which disappeared immediately after the operation.
The worrying thing here is that Morgana did really show strong signs of pyometra and if we didn't operate Morgana would have deteriorated very quickly.
Here are the facts about pyometra;
- It only affects un-neutered female dogs
- It is more common in older dogs over 6 years of age but Morgana was only 2
- It occurs around 2 months after the dogs last season
- She may lick herself more often and go off her food
- She may drink a lot more
- She may wet herself
- Discharge may be visible on her private parts
- She may start to vomit
- If untreated the symptoms will worse over a period of days to several weeks
- If untreated it will lead to dehydration and death from toxic shock (kidney failure)
The only way to prevent pyometra is to neuter your dog. I was very lucky that I have such an amazing vets that I could trust Morgana with and now she only has a little scar on her tummy and is back to her bouncing self.