It is not very common that the reproductive tract of either the male or female becomes infected. When it does, however, it is usually serious and can even result in death. Antibiotics are often not enough to resolve the problem alone, therefore, surgery is frequently the best method of curing the pet of the infection permanently.

In both sexes the main difficulty is in reaching the infection with high enough concentrations of the antibiotic drug to kill off all the germs. Both organs are cavernous in nature and thus lend themselves too good hiding places for bacteria to sequester. At the very least long term antibiotic treatment is necessary and may still be unsatisfactory in the end.

Infection of the uterus is called pyometra. Pyometra is seen most often in the older female several weeks after her last estrus cycle has finished. There may be a foul odor discharge coming from the vulva or you may see none at all. You may also see an increase in drinking and urinating behaviors as well as a loss of appetite. A blood test that measures the white blood cells is probably the most helpful in confirming the diagnosis.

Infection of the testis is called orchitis. Orchitis can occur at any time and is first recognized by the owner due to the unusual “saw horse” stance of the hindlegs and the “spread eagle” gait of the dog. In addition, there is a very obvious swelling to both testicles as well as the spermatic chord. In this case measuring the white blood cells does not confirm the diagnosis.

In the female an ovariohysterectomy is generally performed as soon as possible after the condition is confirmed. Providing the pet is not too toxic from the infection or that the uterus has already ruptured, the risks of anesthesia are reasonable. In the male there is a slightly better chance that antibiotics alone may be enough to cure the infection, however, castration is still the best way to solve the problem permanently.

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