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Sterilization can prevent pyometra

By Lawrence Gerson V.M.D.

I saw my first pet sterilization when I was in high school and working for a veterinarian at the Schenley Park Animal Hospital. My memories are vivid. The procedure commonly known as a spay is really an ovariohysterectomy. The ovaries and uterus are commonly removed to prevent unwanted heat and pregnancy, but the procedure also prevents mammary tumors and pyometra.

Pyometra is a uterine infection that is seen in dogs and cats after estrus. Four to 12 weeks after a heat cycle, animals who are not pregnant can start to act sick. It is estimated that 25 percent of pets who are not spayed may develop pyometra as they age.

Common signs of pyometra can include vaginal discharge and excessive water drinking and urination. Tests show that white blood cell counts increase dramatically. More

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