Canine Metritis- An Overview

Metritis is a bacterial infection that affects female dogs immediately after pregnancy. This form of bacterial infection enters the blood soon after pregnancy and causes the uterus of the dog to become swollen and inflamed. If not adequately handled – or managed in time – the disease may lead to the dog being sterile and in some cases, fatal.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Metitis?

Symptoms of infection typically begin within one week of delivery. Your dog may have pus like vulva discharge, fever, swollen belly, dark red gums, loss of appetite, listlessness, decreased milk production and elevated heart rate. She can even neglect or drive her puppies away. Restless or sometimes crying puppies may be another indicator of illness.

How Is Metritis Diagnosed?

Your veterinarian can diagnose metritis after examining your dog and obtaining the

history. Blood counts are done to screen for response to infection. Cytological inspection under a microscope will allow the examination of germs and pus in a microscope in the reproductive tract. When infection is detected, cultures are performed to classify the organism and to identify the best option of antibiotics. The abdominal radiography (X-ray) is used to scan for the fetus retained. Ultrasound is also done to search for the fetus or placenta retained and to visualize any fluid retained in the uterus.

How Is Metritis Treated?

Treatment of metritis in dogs consists of antibiotics, medicines to help the uterus empty, probiotics, and supportive care like fluids and drugs if needed to control vomiting. After 24 hours of weaning, oxytocin will no longer allow the uterus to contract. If a placenta is diagnosed or suspected, an injection of prostaglandin can help the uterus empty. If a retained pup(s) is diagnosed on the basis of ultrasound, palpation or x-ray, surgery is typically required to treat the metritis. 

How To Care And Prevent Metritis In Dogs?

There is no home treatment for metritis; it needs veterinary care. After diagnosing, make sure your dog is given all the medicine prescribed. Dogs that are swollen as part of the procedure typically perform very well.

Metritis can become recurrent and cause birth defects in breeding dogs when medical therapy is not properly developed. As metritis is a vaginal condition, spaying your dog is the only thing you can do to avoid the disease.

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