species: click on a picture:
Metritis is the medical term used to describe an
acute or chronic inflammation of the uterus. This uterine
disease is similar to pyometra but it has some differences.
Unlike pyometra, metritis is most often a bacterial
uterine infection that develops in the immediate post
partum (after giving birth) period and occasionally
after abortion or breeding. It is most often
associated with retained fetuses or placentas.
body of the uterus (a) and both uterine horns (a and b).
Right photo: The female
Metritis usually results from infection acquired at the
time of parturition or estrus, or shortly thereafter.
retained fetal membranes, dead fetuses, blood and exudate
provide suitable substrates for bacteria which gain entry
through the open cervix. Sometimes, infection is introduced
by careless use of instruments, and it may also occur at
the time of breeding, being introduced either by the stud
or attempts to dilate a small vagina.
Acutely ill animals exhibit fever, polydipsia (drinking
excessive amounts of water), depression, vomiting,
dehydration and sometimes diarrhea. There is decreased
appetite and often a fast heart rate.
The signs of chronic metritis are not constant. A
persistent or intermittent uterine discharge may be
apparent. Failure to conceive or the delivery of dead or
weak pups, which die soon after birth, is suggestive.
Sometimes the condition is asymptomatic.
history of abortion, dystocia or even normal parturition
accompanies most cases of acute metritis. Occasionally a
thickened, indurated uterus can be palpated through the
abdominal wall. Radiography may reveal a uterus of abnormal
size or density.
Ultrasound may show fluid accumulation within the uterus,
retained fetuses and/or placentas, as well as fluid within
the abdominal cavity in the cases of uterine rupture.
Complete blood count shows an elevated white blood cell
count. A leukocytosis is usually found, especially in acute
metritis. A history of frequent or prolonged estrual
bleeding indicates endometrial changes that can be regarded
as chronic metritis.
Ovariohysterectomy is most often the
treatment of choice, once the patient is stabilized
(Intravenous fluid and electrolyte therapy).
Treatment of acute metritis includes supportive therapy,
such as parenteral fluids, and a prolonged course of
antibiotic therapy. Very small repeated doses of oxytocin
may increase uterine tone and help it to discharge the
contents. Prostaglandins are drugs that also stimulate
contraction of the uterus. This is, however,
contraindicated if the uterus is grossly distented..
The treatment of chronic metritis is the same except that
hormone therapy is contraindicated and prolonged treatment
with antibiotics is often necessary.
Metritis may become chronic and cause infertility in
breeding bitches. Since metritis is a uterine disease,
spaying your dog is the only way to prevent disease.