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Pyometra: why you should spay your dog

Pyometra is one of the most common problems affecting female dogs in the Philippines. If there’s one reason why you should spay your female dog, it’s pyometra, an infection of the uterus. The high numbers are not surprising, considering that most Filipinos do not bother to have their dogs fixed.

If there’s one thing I should stress, it’s that pyometra can affect just about any intact female. Last week, I had a pyometra scare that nearly killed one of my dogs. The ironic thing is that almost all of my females have been spayed except for Kittycat (yes, she reminds me of a cat). I was hesitant to spay her when she was younger because of all the findings that were being released about the risks of spay surgeries. While I was on the fence thinking things through, time was ticking by. By the time I realized it, she was 8, and this time, I didn’t want to spay her anymore because I felt she was too old for an elective surgery.

Recently, Kitty went into heat. Around a month after that, I noticed that she was not her usual self. She was still eating and active, but somehow, she seemed to have lost her spunk. One day, I saw her vomit yellow bile, but I thought she just had a gastric upset. I observed her closely, and though she was eating and doing her usual activities, something seemed off.

On the day that typhoon Vamco (Ulysses) hit Metro Manila, I noticed that she was drinking a lot of water and also peeing a lot more than she usually did. Her gums also looked paler than usual. By then I knew something was wrong.

The following day, I knew I had to act fast, while Kitty was still up and about. Something in my gut told me I had an emergency in my hands.  Unfortunately, we had no power, no signal, and no water. All establishments were closed. We drove out with Kitty, as I was determined to find a vet who can do an emergency check-up. Thankfully, we finally found a mobile signal, and I was able to make a call to my vet, who, as it happens, was checking on confined dogs in his clinic. Though his office was closed and he was all by himself, he agreed to check up on Kitty. On physical examination, he immediately noted what seemed to be an inflamed uterus.

Because of the power situation, there was no ultrasound to confirm his theory that Kitty had pyometra. The blood machine was not working either. Based on all her other symptoms that seemed to point to pyometra, he decided to give her an antibiotic shot and ensure she was dehydrated while continuously monitoring, in the hopes that power would be back at least in the next 24 hours.

The next day, power was back, and the diagnosis of pyometra was confirmed by both ultrasound and a blood test. Spay was immediately done.

It has been a week since that eventful day when Kitty had her emergency spay, and I would admit that I have never been so scared. I saw how bad the infection had been, and the vet showed me her inflamed uterus, filled with pus and blood. I wanted to kick myself for not spaying her earlier, when spaying had always worked for all my other dogs. I prayed hard for her recovery, and God, in his goodness, gave her a new lease on life. Today, as I write here, Kitty is right beside me, recovering still but happy, as far as I can tell.

This is why I strongly urge you to spay your female dogs. An incidence of 25% is pretty high, and vets in the Philippines have a non-stop flow of pyometra cases because spay is not routinely done in the country. In fact, on the week that Kitty was spayed, one of the prized champion bitches of a close friend also had pyometra, and also had to go through an emergency surgery. I have heard of dogs that never made it alive because their owners did not notice something was wrong or thought they were pregnant.

Believe me, I thought pyometra wouldn’t happen to any of my dogs, considering that majority of them are neutered. What were the odds, I told myself. Well, I had to find out the hard way.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Spay your dog. You won’t regret it.

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