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A Case of Severe Pyometra in a Dog



Hpathy Ezine, June, 2012 | Print This Post Print This Post |

The author writes about pyometra in dogs and describes a severe case solved with Arsenicum album.

Several disorders of the ovaries and uterus can occur in dogs and one of the most serious is a pus-filled, swollen uterus called pyometra. The fluid and thickening of the walls of the uterus causes an increase in the size of the uterus. The usual signs are drinking more water than usual, a tense and swollen abdomen, loss of appetite, and often a fever. There may or may not be an infected vaginal discharge. The build up of pus, i.e. white blood cells that accumulate in defense of infection, can escape through the uterine tract and is seen as a discharge from the vulva. It often collects on the fur under the tail and back legs. In some cases no discharge is present and it is called a closed pyometra. Once the cervix is closed the continued flow of fluid causes a tremendous increase of the uterus. The risk of rupture of the organ is substantial. If this happens the content is spilled into the abdominal cavity and the dog usually dies within a short time.

Any patient diagnosed with pyometra needs immediate attention. It is a serious, potentially life-threatening condition often seen in middle-aged and older female dogs. Bacteria and toxins enter the bloodstream and cause havoc with the kidneys, liver and other organs and may lead to uremic poisoning, endotoxic shock, kidney failure and sudden death. The older the dog, the higher the risk to get sick. It usually occurs some weeks after a heat cycle in which fertilization did not occur. Based on the constitutional predisposition, various factors play into the development of pyometra such as irregular heat cycles, bladder or vaginal infections, hormone imbalance and therapy, and false pregnancy episodes. Certain breeds are more disposed to get pyometra like the Golden Retriever, Rottweiler, Mountain Dog, Bernese Mountain Dog, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel and Rough-Haired Collie.

Common clinical signs include:

  • Frequent, profuse urination (polyuria).

  • Excessive thirst and water consumption (polydipsia).

  • Dehydration.

  • Appetite loss, anorexia, vomiting.

  • Depression and lethargy.

  • Uterine enlargement and abdominal distension.

  • Weakness, especially in the rear legs, and malaise.

  • A purulent and possibly bloody vaginal discharge, causing the dog to lick the vagina constantly if the cervix is open.

  • Possibly a low-grade fever.

  • Shock.

  • An elevated white blood cell count.

  • The dog may prefer to lie on a cool ground to cool the inflammation.

Diagnosis can be supported by X-ray, ultrasound, urine, blood and lab tests.

Veterinarians treat pyometra as an emergency. Surgical removal is the recommended treatment. However, these dogs can be a surgical challenge on an animal who is unstable and in a poor overall condition. Pyometra surgery involves the risk of peritonitis and profuse hemorrhage. Antibiotics and pain medications are given as well and possibly prostaglandin’s and fluid therapy to help support kidney function. Lesions in the kidneys may take a long time to heal. Pyometra may cause damage and scarring within the uterus making conception impossible.

Case study

The dog, a ten year old Labrador mix, was already declining rapidly when I was called in the late evening. Her owner told me that she hadn’t eaten for a couple of days. She was restless, especially at night, when the light on the yard would often go on and off from her wandering.

When her owner walked her she would only go very slowly and finally stop and refuse to walk. When moving she preferred to stretch the rear legs backwards. When standing, her abdomen visibly contracted, moving in and outwards.

The dog had suffered from profuse leucorrhoea for a couple of days. There was a constant, purulent, bloody and offensive discharge from her vagina. Antibiotics had not improved her condition, so surgery for gynectomy was urgently recommended.

When I came to see her there wasn’t much life inside the dog anymore. She had lost flesh rapidly and was lying on the floor with the extremities and face twitching during sleep. When awake, she trembled and apathetically gazed before her. Her paws, which used to be warm, were cold.

The dog was clearly in a very serious condition and surgery the only possibility to save the dog’s life according to the orthodox vet. Surgery itself, however, is never curative, as it does not cure the underlying pathological process that caused the ailment to occur. It tends to be suppressive as it closes a vent before the cause is cured. Recurrence in this or another region of the body may follow, even in more vital organs. The vital force may be able to find a vent or channel through some other point of least resistance, but cure might be delayed or impossible. With the removal of the pathological end product, Hering’s law of direction of cure is blocked, as symptoms cannot disappear in the reverse order of their appearance. True cure must always proceed in the correct order, from center to circumference, from above downward, from within outwards, and from more important to less important organs. Symptoms which disappear in the reverse order of their appearance are removed permanently.

One of the most important duties of the homeopath is to recognize what is curable and what is not curable by our medicines, and when surgery has to be performed as palliative emergency treatment to save the patient’s life. Surgery, however, can be essential in some situations as a means for preservation of life. Hahnemann advised that in most urgent cases, where danger to life and imminent death do not allow time for a homeopathic remedy to act, “only in such cases is it permissible and expedient, at least for the time being, to rouse the irritability and sensibility (the physical life) again by means of a palliative.”

In cases where a pathology has been formed, our duty is to pause with surgery if we can evaluate the totality of characteristic symptoms of the case, which allow the homeopath to find the homeopathic remedy. As long as strange, rare, peculiar and characteristic symptoms are present, which form a symptom picture that allows us to choose the similar remedy from the materia medica, the case is not hopeless. This is the precondition to find the curative remedy, which acts according to the Law of Similars.

As there were characteristic and peculiar symptoms available to form the totality and a picture that allowed me to chose the similar remedy, I decided for homeopathic treatment. The presence of characteristic symptoms speaks for the patient’s reactivity and that there is ability to respond to homeopathic treatment. The owner was advised to stay in contact with the vet clinic and to take the dog for surgery if there were any aggravation of symptoms.

The dogs symptoms were classified, evaluated and repertorized as follows:

Rubrics

Mind, indifference, apathy

Mind, indifference, apathy, life, to

Mind, indifference, apathy, everything, to

Mind, restlessness, nervousness, tendency, night

Generalities, emaciation, rapid

Generalities, weakness, enervation, exhaustion, prostration: disease, acute, in

Generalities, trembling, externally

Generalities, twitching, sleep, agg., during

Generalities, motion, agg.

Eye, staring

Face, twitching, sleep, during

Stomach, appetite, wanting

Abdomen, contraction

Female genitalia, leucorrhea, bloody

Female genitalia, leucorrhea, purulent

Female genitalia, leucorrhea, offensive

Female genitalia, inflammation, uterus

Extremities, coldness, hands

Extremities, coldness, foot

Extremities, twitching, sleep, agg., during

Repertorization

Choice of the remedy

Weakness out of proportion to the disease is a very characteristic symptom for Arsenicum and missing in Sep, Merc and Sulph. This, and the peculiar concomitant symptom of the twitching face are only covered by Ars.

Materia Medica: Arsenicum album

  • The Arsenicum patient is too weak to toss as the anguish and restlessness would incline him to… It makes little difference what the disease is, if this persistent restlessness and especially if great weakness is also present….don’t forget ARSENICUM ALBUM.

  • Uneasiness in the lower limbs, he cannot lie still in the night, and had to change the position of his feet all the time or to walk about, to get relief. (Allen’s encyclopedia)

  • Arsenicum is of great value in diseased conditions of the uterus, including inflammations, ulceration’s, cancer, and hemorrhages, with lancinating, burning pains. (W.I.Pierce)

  • Great indifference. Calm indifference; without caring about their approaching death, they neither expected nor desired to recover. (T.F.Allen, Encyclopedia of pure Materia Medica)

  • She lay on the bed completely devoid of sense, the eyes staring, … trembling all over the body. (MMP by S.Hahnemann)

  • Pricking twitching or jerking in one side of the upper lips, especially when going to sleep. Twitching of the limbs. Violent twitching of the lower extremities. Violent twitching of the whole body. (T.F.Allen, Encyclopedia of pure Materia Medica)

  • The discharges from the uterus, the menstrual flow, the leucorrhoea…, all the discharges are putrid.

  • Leucorrhoea, bloody, yellow, offensive, putrid. (A.Seideneder, Mitteldetails)

Acute treatment

The dog received Arsenicum album C1000, one dose in the late evening (1 globule dissolved in a cup of water, one teaspoon was given). Next morning she got already up by herself and ate something. She was cleaned regularly. She got two further doses of Ars 200C on the two following days. Three days after the commencement of homeopathic treatment the dog went again on her regular walk and soon recovered.

Comments

In all acute cases it is most important to continue with chronic, anti-miasmatic treatment to prevent recurrence and cure the fundamental cause. Pet owners should be informed about the benefits of chronic homeopathic treatment for their animals, which helps prevent future suffering and expense.

When using homeopathy for animals we often face the difficulty of having limited or unreliable information. Animals may present scanty mental’s and sensations as these are difficult to assess. The etiology is often unknown as well as hereditary, miasmatic influences whose knowledge is helpful in the treatment of chronic cases. Interpretations and speculations are to be avoided by all means. Thus, we have to be as objective as possible to make a successful prescription. This case presented characteristic symptoms which allowed the choice of the similar remedy, which brought about of a rapid cure. Fortunately, the dog still had enough vital reaction to evoke a healing reaction.

Veterinarians usually recommend having female dogs spayed at an early age as the best means for prevention. Homeopathy, however, offers the possibility of treating dogs chronically to prevent recurrence and cure the underlying predisposition. It can obviate the need for undertaking the unnatural and risky operation and even save future generations from this kind of ailment.

Source of images

http://www.hillsvet.com/pdf/en-us/pyometra_en.pdf

Katja Schuett

Katja Schutt, Msc, HP, DHM, PGHom, DVetHom, has studied homeopathy with several schools, amongst which David Little’s advanced course stands out as it offers a really deep insight into homeopathic philosophy and materia medica (simillimum.com). Her current focus lies in working with animals and studying history, the old masters, and research.

Comments

  1. Avatar of Ignacio Cabrera Larios

    Ignacio Cabrera Larios

    June 25, 2012

    A wonderful case management. Simple, precise, concise and effective! Open pyometras are usually less dangerous than closed ones. This case deserves a ovation from the veterinary medical community.

    Greetings from Mexico!

    • laurie lanman

      November 26, 2013

      Dear Katja, I need help. My 12 1/2 yr old purebred collie has a severe case of open pyometra. She is too weak for surgery. I need to know how or who can administer Arsenicum album. It may be her last chance. I will do it myself if I have to. My ph# is 1 630 290 7351. Im in the usa and I need direction in this. I believe she can make it. Please contact me. Sincerely, Laurie Lanman

  2. Danielle

    August 15, 2012

    Hello…I’m wondering if you can help at all. My 16 year old poo-pom mix has the beginnings of pyometra. She is responding to anti-biotics so far, and she is draining a clear discharge constantly. The vet wants to perform a spay on her, of which I am VERY unsure…she is 16! I’m looking for some homeopathic remedy to prevent her from having this progress…

  3. Avatar of Katja Schuett

    Katja Schuett

    August 15, 2012

    Hi Danielle,
    the best is to contact a vethom nearby who can see the dog, take the case carefully and watch the case closely. If you let me know where you live I could help you finding a qualified hom or you may google for hom’s in your region.

  4. Kathy

    July 7, 2013

    I have a Chesapeake Bay Retriever who has just turned 4 years old.

    First signs of heat were noticed 17 June.
    Heat cycle appeared normal.
    She was bred last year and had a healthy litter of 12 pups and has had a ‘normal’ heat cycle between the pups and this heat cycle.

    Noticed this morning a small drop of puss near her water bowl. Checked her and she has infection coming out of her vagina. The puss is not smelly, but it is yellow in color and not clear. Her temp is 101.3. She acts as though nothing is wrong with her, but I have noticed an increase of water intake.

    I know of NO trustworthy homeopathic vets in my area (28768 zip code)

    Advise or help in finding a vet in my area would be most appreciated. I really do not want to go down the Baytril/Lutalyz road, but will use traditional methods to save my bitch and her uterus as she is a wonderful representation of the breed with extensive health clearances and show/performance titles.

    Many thanks-
    Kathy

  5. Cris

    October 5, 2013

    My dog was diagnosed with pyometra today. Vet wants to charge $2000 for the surgery and she has a 50% chance of making it because she is 10 yrs old. She has been having bloody discharge for the last week and I thought she had lost puppies because she had been in heat about 2 weeks ago. She is lethargic, doesn’t want to eat. her bloody discharge stopped today. Other option vet gave us was to put her down. Any help in Dallas, TX?

  6. Marielle

    October 11, 2013

    I have a 6 yr.old j.russell/j.spitz mix. After a month of her menstruation, i noticed a thick blood coming out of her vulva once in a while and even during urination. She’s not eating and drinks plenty of water. It is on the fifth day with no food..please help me what to do and what medication to give. I’ from the philippines. Thank you very much.

  7. Maria Kokkinaki

    November 25, 2013

    Greetings from Washington DC!
    I am writing to ask your opinion about my friend’s dog, Maddy, a 5 year old yellow lab who was diagnosed with pyometra last week. Maddy’s condition was very similar to the case described in this report, she was lethargic, non-responsive, with no appetite for food or water and with pink color discharge from her vagina. She lost a lot of weight and was too weak to stand on her feet. The allopathic vetenerians suggested surgery but could not guarantee the result… The only other alternative to such an expensive and invasive operation was unfortunately euthanasia! My friend found this report online and decided to give his dog a chance with homeopathy… He started giving her Arsenicum album as described here and also water with honey and salt to keep her hydrated, as well as vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, Coenzyme Q10, a mushroom mix, and turmeric… The first positive sign that he saw the first day was that Maddy stopped twitching; the 3rd day she all of a sudden stood up and went to her water bowl and had water! Today is the 5th day and Maddy has already ben out for short walks and she is improving day by day… She is still on liquid food, chicken broth, together with all the supplements and the Arsenicum tablets. She is of course not completely recovered yet but she has made great progress in just 5 days!
    I wanted to ask you if you think is normal that the bloody discharge from her vagina has decreased but hasn’t stopped completely and also if there is any other supplement that could help her become strong again.
    Finally, is there any good homeopathic vetenerian in Washington DC?
    Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.
    Best,
    Maria

  8. Maria Kokkinaki

    November 26, 2013

    One more question regarding the case I am describing in my previous post:
    For how long afyer the first 5 days should the treatment with Arsenicum be continued and what would be a recommended dose?
    Thank you!

    Maria

  9. Avatar of Christina Vagalatis

    Christina Vagalatis

    February 25, 2014

    My dog is experiencing a very foul smell in her heat cycle. The first 2 weeks of bleeding were fine, and a few days ago the blood developed a very offensive odor. She experienced this with her last heat cycle as well, about 6 months ago. At that time we checked her blood and found staph and e-coli. She had been previously treated for diarrhea with antibiotics, so I do not know if the bacteria in her blood was a result of the diarrhea. This time, she was on an antibiotic again to treat recurring diarrhea that would not heal with natural remedies. I have not had her examined this time around, I am just treating her the way I treated her last time (lypo-spheric vit C, Berberis, Hepar Sulf, Colloidal Silver) I am wondering what could be causing this infection for the second time? All her other heat cycles have been normal, she is 3.5 yrs old. As this is occurring during her heat could it be a hormone related issue? Or could this be a yeast infection related to the antibiotics? Anyone’s experience with this is appreciated. I do not know if she has pyometra, if she does I imagine it is open. There is nothing abnormal with her other than the foul smelling blood, it does not smell like normal blood. I do not plan on spaying her, she has never been pregnant..what can someone do to help prevent this sort of thing or pyometra in intact dogs??

    Thank you!
    Christina

  10. Avatar of esther

    esther

    March 13, 2014

    I have a great Pyrenees, 8 1/2 years old diagnosed with pyometra. She was treated with antibiotics and did well. appeared to be doing better for a few days then I noticed loss of appetite and the same symptoms as above (Maria Kokkinaki). for the past 2 days I cant get her to eat at all. Called the vet back. He said she needs surgery and there’s nothing he can do. I can’t afford the surgery. Where can I get arsenicum album and how do I administer it? I live near the Sacramento California area but I don’t mind driving farther if i have to. Please advise me.

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