Pyometra in dogs or cats is a disease that affects females that have reached reproductive maturity. It is a uterine infection. It should be treated as soon as possible, as it can lead to sepsis, peritonitis, and kidney failure.
In simple terms, the pyometra is an accumulation of pus in the uterus, which occurs due to hormonal changes in the reproductive tract of the female dog or cat. After estrus or the “heat period”, progesterone levels remain elevated for several weeks, stimulating the uterine lining to thicken in preparation for pregnancy. If the pregnancy does not occur several cycles in a row, the mucosa continues to grow in thickness, forming cysts in the uterus. This environment is conducive to the development of bacteria and subsequent infection.
Pyometra is a disease that endangers the lives of female dogs or cats and must be treated immediately.
How much does pyometra surgery cost?
The cost of a surgery can range from $550 to more than $2,300, depending on the severity of the problem, the vet, and the place where you are living. The price will double if it’s done at an emergency clinic instead of a local hospital. These are just some estimates and do not include the pre-operative tests as we are going to talk about those below.
According to a vet’s post on JustAnswer.com, the price at his clinic is anywhere between $1,300 and $1,600.
The cost of spaying or neutering a dog or cat at the Animal Alliance is $140 to $260, depending on their weight. For an emergency surgery due to pyometra, an additional $220 will be required for IV fluids, pain medications, antibiotics, and hospitalization.
A member on the DollarForum.com forum said that he had to pay $1,110 for the pyometra surgery. Medication, anesthetic, saline, removal, and ear cleaning were included in this cost. Also, another member had said that he had to pay around $950 for the same procedure.
Pyometra surgery details
There are many factors that play a role in a dog’s or cat’s predisposition to develop a pyometra. These include changes in hormones, breed, age, and whether a dog or cat is receiving hormonal medications. There are two forms of pyometra, closed and open.
An open pyometra occurs when the cervix is open, while a closed pyometra occurs when the cervix is closed. Patients with open pyometra will have a bloody discharge to the pus from their vulva. In a closed pyometra, no discharge will be present. In addition, many dogs and cats with pyometra will drink more water and urinate more frequently. This is because a common bacterium involved in causing pyometra, E. Coli, will cause changes in the kidneys that will lead to increased fluid intake and urination. Other signs that can be seen at home include lethargy, loss of appetite, and vomiting.
There are many tests that can help diagnose a pyometra. X-rays may show an enlarged uterus, and the cytology of the discharge from the vulva may show rod-shaped bacteria under a microscope along with white blood cells. In addition, the processing of blood may have an increased number of white blood cells. Finally, ultrasound can be used to visualize the uterus and confirm a diagnosis.
The most common treatment for pyometra is usually surgical. The most aggressive procedure, but also the most effective, is an ovariohysterectomy, meaning the extraction of the uterus and ovaries.
This extremely invasive procedure signals the end of the animal’s reproductive life, but completely eliminates the chances of developing the disease. Another less invasive treatment is lavage of the uterus or applying a transcervical drain.
The administration of antibiotics and prostaglandins can also help eliminate the infection. This non-surgical approach is effective, however, only in those infections with lower severity.
Your pet will have to stay at the local vet hospital for a few days after surgery. Recovery time depends on their condition but most pets are back in action within weeks.
What are the extra costs?
As we mentioned above, some tests will be conducted by the veterinarian before the surgery in order to determine if treatment should be started. A series of blood and urine samples are taken, as well as an ultrasound to check for infection. The cost depends on who performs them but can easily add another $550 to $1,100 to the total estimate.
After the treatment, to help your pet recover, you should budget for antibiotics. This can cost anywhere between $80 and $100 per prescription depending on how many days worth of supply will be needed.
If necessary, the intravenous fluid therapy will cost another $160 to $320.
Important things to consider
Some cats or dogs with pyometra show no symptoms, or show vague clinical signs such as lethargy, fever, dehydration, low appetite, vomiting, a swollen and painful abdomen, accentuated and abnormal thirst, or very frequent urination.
The risk of pyometra increases as cats and dogs get older and go through more and more menstrual cycles, without giving birth to puppies. Pyometra usually occurs two to eight weeks after the last heat period, so unsterilized cats or dogs have the highest risk of developing the infection.
The use of progesterone-based drugs can cause uterine changes, so non-sterilized females who have received hormones should be closely monitored.
Although very rare, spayed cats or dogs can be affected by pyometra.
How can I save money?
If you want to avoid paying costly veterinarian bills, it is important that your dog or cat be spayed as soon as possible. When an animal’s uterus gets removed in a procedure known as uterine combustion (uterine lavage), there will no longer be room for pyometra. The costs for a six-month-old pet can be anywhere between $320 and $630 depending on their specific breed, but getting them sterilized through charity organizations could reduce this expense by up to 60%.
If you’re unable to pay for your pet’s treatment in full, the vet may be able to set up a payment plan or refer you out to a company that can help with a loan.