Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Life

January 5, 2014

ASK A VET:

DEAR DR. WELDY’S: My parent’s dog recently had to have emergency surgery because of a uterine infection. It was very expensive and she nearly died. Is this common? How do I prevent this from happening to my dog? — Concerned Pet Owner

DEAR CONCERNED: The uterine infection you are referring to was most likely a case of pyometra. Pyometra is a life-threatening condition of the female reproductive tract, in which the uterus rapidly fills with mucus and pus. The name is derived from the root “pyo” meaning pus and “metra” meaning uterus.

Pyoetra typically occurs in middle-aged dogs within one to two months after a heat cycle in which fertilization does not occur. Although the disease is much more prevalent in dogs, it can also occur in cats and occasionally in other species.

Excessive hormone levels cause the uterus to fill with fluid and mucus, creating a perfect environment for a raging bacterial infection if the uterus is contaminated. I have seen these organs expand to 20 times their normal size in this scenario. The disease can quickly become fatal as toxins and bacteria from this inflamed organ enter the bloodstream, or the uterus simply ruptures spreading the infection throughout the abdomen.

Symptoms of pyometra often include vomiting, lack of appetite, abdominal bloating, lethargy, excessive thirst and urination, and sometimes, but not always, vaginal discharge. Treatment typically consists of fluids, antibiotics and, in most cases, surgery to remove the infected organ. Ovariohysterectomy (complete removal of the uterus and ovaries) is the only definitive treatment, but is a risky procedure in such a sick patient. Unfortunately, this deadly disease is quite common, effecting one out of five female dogs by the age of 10.

The good news is that it can only develop in dogs with an intact reproductive tract, so if your female dog has been spayed, you have no need to worry. For those of you with intact female dogs, watch them closely for the signs I mentioned above. If you notice any of these or other symptoms, it is imperative that you contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Finally, having your veterinarian perform a spay procedure at or before 6 months of age is the only definitive prevention.

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Life
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Poll

Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
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