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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 14826
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My German shepherd is 9 years old and has come into season

Customer Question

my German shepherd is 9 years old and has come into season but she has gone off her food and is lethargic and drinking a lot of water
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.

I am sorry to hear that your pup Jess has come into heat, is lethargic, and isn't eating well, but is drinking a lot of water.

Since she is drinking more water then usual and has a decrease in her appetite I am more concerned.

I am concerned about a uterine infection called a pyometra. Pyometras can rupture, causing peritonitis and/or the infection can spread to her other organs leading to abscesses in her kidneys, liver spleen and even her heart valves. The toxic metabolites from the infection can affect her appetite and cause her to drink lots of water as the infection progresses.

Early on the symptoms of an open pyometra, or a draining infection can be very similar to a heavy heat or endometritis as long as the pyometra is draining. That is because if the infection is draining she may not feel the effects of the bacterial toxins as quickly as if the infection was closed in and the toxin levels build up more quickly in her uterus and bloodstream.

Antibiotics alone do not work to treat a pyometra as they have poor penetration into an infection filled uterus and do not address the pool of infectious material and toxins in her uterus. We sometimes use prostaglandin injections and combination antibiotics in dogs that owners want to breed another time, but the success rate is variable. And even if it works if she isn't bred successfully on the next heat the chances of the infection returning are very high. At her age it is unlikely that she would be a good candidate for breeding anyway.

Ideally she would see her veterinarian for an examination and to check her vaginal discharge to try and differentiate between endometritis and an early pyometra. The sooner that she is examined the better as if this is a pyometra the sooner that is addressed the better chance she has of doing well. Treatment for a pyometra is stabilizing her with intravenous fluids and antibiotics and surgery to remove the infected uterus. The longer that you wait the more opportunity this infection has to spread and the more difficult it will be to treat her.

Since her appetite is off and she seems to be drinking more water then usual, and may be running a fever (rectal temperature greater then 103F) then this probably should not wait, she should be seen as soon as possible.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.
Hi,
I'm just following up on our conversation about Jess. How is everything going?
Dr. Kara

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