Metritis in bitches - Symptoms, causes and treatment

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Metritis in bitches is a bacterial infection that takes place in the uterus during or shortly after delivery. There are different causes involved in its development, as we will see in this AnimalWised article. Therefore, it is very important that a pregnant dog receives all the necessary care both at the time of birth and throughout the postpartum period..

Metritis is a disease that requires rapid veterinary intervention, as it could have fatal consequences for the dog. In this way, if you observe the symptoms that we will mention below, you should visit the vet urgently. Keep reading to know what the treatment of metritis in bitches and how to avoid this problem.

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  1. Causes of metritis in bitches or uterine infection
  2. Symptoms of metritis in bitches
  3. Treatment for metritis in bitches
  4. What happens to the puppies of bitches with metritis?
  5. Prevention of metritis in bitches

Causes of metritis in bitches or uterine infection

Metritis in bitches is due to bacteria that manage to ascend until they reach the uterus, triggering an infection. The most frequent causes of this disease are those that allow bacterial overgrowth and, consequently, expose the dog to bacteria. The following stand out:

  • Placental retention.
  • Mummification of a fetus.
  • Contamination of the birth canal both during and after delivery.
  • Lack of hygiene at the place of delivery.
  • Do not remove the placentas if the bitch does not ingest them.
  • Do not change the bed after delivery.

Symptoms of metritis in bitches

Symptoms of metritis in female dogs can be seen between two and seven days later delivery has taken place. The signs that should make us suspect of an infection of the uterus in the bitch are the following:

  • Lethargy.
  • Anorexy.
  • Fever.
  • Stop caring for puppies.
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Very bad smelling vaginal discharge, which is what differentiates it from normal lochia after delivery.
  • More thirsty than usual.
  • If the dog is not treated, the infection can spread rapidly to the blood and cause shock and death..

Although all the above signs are serious, if we appreciate brown vaginal discharge, We may be facing an acute metritis that must be treated immediately. As a consequence of this flow, it is very likely that we will see the bitch lick her vulva frequently, so that this sign can also alert us, leading us to monitor her so that she does not lick and thus we can check if there is indeed a discharge.

Treatment for metritis in bitches

The vet should immediately check a female dog with symptoms such as those described. Palpating the abdomen or performing an ultrasound it is possible to discover the presence of any placental remains or fetus that have been retained in the uterus.

Ideally, take a sample to make a culture and know exactly what bacteria is causing the uterine infection in the bitch. In this way, the vet will be able to prescribe the most appropriate antibiotic treatment to combat them. Given the severity of this infection, how quickly it can spread, and its potential to cause death, treatment is given intravenously.

For this, it is necessary to enter the bitch, since it will also receive fluid therapy and hormones such as oxytocin or prostaglandin to empty the uterus. Sometimes the vet will also directly irrigate the uterus with serum or a disinfectant. In the most serious cases, the last option is the surgery to remove the ovaries and uterus. It is a life or death operation. Bitches that recover may have a persistent, mild infection of the lining of the uterus, called endometritis and castration of affected bitches is recommended.

What happens to the puppies of bitches with metritis?

The most serious cases of metritis in female dogs mean that they are too ill to care for their puppies. If this happens, we are the ones who will have to take care of them and feed them with artificial milk specially formulated for dogs. The vet will explain to us what care we should give them. For more details, we recommend reviewing this article: "¿How to feed newborn puppies? ".

Prevention of metritis in bitches

By understanding how metritis is triggered in female dogs, it is possible to prevent this infection. A good measure is to have the veterinarian check the dog around 24 hours after delivery. In this way, for example, it can help to empty the uterus if necessary, since there may remain remains capable of triggering the infection of the uterus..

It is also a good idea take her temperature after delivery once a day. To do this, we just have to gently insert a thermometer rectally. In this way, we can detect any rise in temperature and contact the veterinarian at the slightest suspicion of illness. It is essential to treat metritis quickly.

Although the above measures allow metritis to be detected in time in the bitch, without a doubt the way to prevent it completely is through castration. In this way, we will not only prevent you from developing a uterus infection, but we can also prevent other health problems such as pyometra and, of course, the birth of unwanted litters. In the following video we talk about the differences between neutering and spaying.

This article is merely informative, at we do not have the power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the vet in the event that it presents any type of condition or discomfort.

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