India is a young golden retriever recently rescued from the streets of an Eastern European country by a re-homing charity and brought back to the UK. She had been spayed in her country of origin then vaccinated (including rabies) and brought to the UK in search of a loving home. Fortunately she rapidly found a home although was very thin and sickly looking following her ordeal, and shortly after re-homing India came into season. It is standard practice for most European countries to remove the ovaries when carrying out a spay procedure. This will not only prevent pregnancy but also stop the bitch from coming into season. Normally in the UK if a dog is coming into season following a spay surgery it means that some of the ovary has been accidentally left behind, which is a rare occurrence as veterinary standards are high in the UK. Every time a bitch comes into season and doesn't get pregnant there is a risk of developing a life threatening inflammation or infection of the uterus (womb) called a Pyometra.
Unfortunately a few weeks after having a season India became very unwell one night and her owner brought her to the Langford Small Animal Practice for emergency treatment. Initial emergency treatment involved intravenous fluids, pain medication and blood tests. India had a painful abdomen and the following day a thorough ultrasound scan revealed a large fluid filled mass in the right side of the abdomen and a pyometra associated with some uterine tissue on the left side. The uterus did not appear complete and there was evidence of previous surgery.
An emergency exploratory surgery was planned as India was deteriorating despite her medication. The surgery revealed a large (fist sized) mass next to the right ovary and a pyometra of the uterus on the left side attached to the left ovary. It appears that the 'spay' surgery done previously had only removed part of the uterus to prevent pregnancy but by leaving the ovaries it had not provided any of the health preventative benefits we would normally attribute to having your bitch spayed. Unfortunately the mass on the right side had recently burst and the abdomen was full of infection leaking out of the mass. We managed to remove the mass entirely and the infected uterus from the left side, and both ovaries. Although India had to spend two days in the Intensive Care Unit at the Small Animal Hospital she was able to go home and has since made a full recovery. She will also have the full benefits of being spayed to the standard we would expect in the UK, which will prevent further problems associated with the ovaries and womb as these have been successfully removed now.
The lab results from the mass indicated that it was also uterine tissue but full of infection from four different bacteria which had formed a large abscess as the uterus was surgically not connected to the cervix, which prevented the infection from draining. Whilst any entire dog is at risk of forming a pyometra the reason that India was so unwell was due to the type of surgery she had which was purely aimed at preventing pregnancy rather than improving the welfare of the bitch.