Pet Advice

Information and advice to help you look after your pet

  • Anal gland disorders
  • Arthritis
  • Food Common poisons
  • Dental disease
  • Dental disease and diet in rabbits
  • Fly strike
  • Heat stroke
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Kennel cough
  • Leptospirosis
  • Lungworm
  • Neutering pets
  • Obesity
  • Parasites
  • Pet vaccination
  • Pyometra

Anal gland disorders

The anal glands (or sacs) are two pockets located either side of your pet’s anus, typically at the 4 and 8 o’clock position.These pockets are lined with glandular cells that secrete a very pungent substance that is used for scent marking; it is part of the reason dogs will sniff each other’s back ends when meeting. Typically, these sacs get emptied when passing faeces pushes on them, excreting the strong-smelling contents onto the poo. Owners usually only become aware of the glands’ existence when their pet has a problem with them.

The most common anal gland issue that we see in practice is failure to empty. Full anal glands can be quite uncomfortable, and the most telling clinical sign is when your pet ‘scoots’ their bottom along the floor. More subtle signs may include sniffing around their back end more than usual, and licking the skin over their legs, flanks, back and tail. You may also notice a strong, unpleasant aroma coming from your pet.

Anal glands that don’t empty properly are at risk of becoming completely impacted, which is often very painful and can lead to abscess formation or even rupture of the affected gland. Emptying a gland is usually a quick and simple procedure done during a consultation with your vet while your pet is conscious. Infected anal glands may require catheterisation and flushing under sedation or anaesthetic.

There are several factors increasing risk of anal gland disease, including low-fibre diet, diarrhoea, obesity and individual conformation. Some dogs or cats may only have one issue in their lifetime, while others may be frequent offenders when it comes to anal gland impaction, visiting the clinic every couple of months for their glands to be completely emptied. For some animals, complete removal of the anal glands may be considered, but this procedure comes with its own risks and so is not routinely performed. Unfortunately, some animals can also develop tumours in their anal glands, so always get them checked out if you are concerned.


Arthritis is the most common ailment that we see in older animals and as owners you are likely to come across it at some stage. The most common type of arthritis is known as osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease and occurs due to wear and tear on the joints.

The bone ends within a moveable joint are covered with a specific type of cartilage and a slippery membrane called the synovium. The joint contains an oily fluid and is enclosed in a capsule surrounded by ligaments. These structures allow smooth movement and to maintain this apparatus in working order the components need to able to repair themselves. Unfortunately, with age this repair process reduces and ligaments begin to stretch allowing the bones to rattle when they move creating inflammation and consequently new bone to be laid down in the wrong place creating pain. Bone is also reabsorbed from where it is needed and this process of remodelling is what is involved in arthritis causing pain and further damage to the joint.


X-ray of normal hips - nice ball and socket     


X-ray of arthritic hips - no socket and lots of extra bone

Some animals are very stoic, especially cats, and you may not notice obvious signs of pain such as moaning or limping, the signs may be subtle and include:

  • Reluctance to exercise/jump up and muscle loss
  • Stiffness especially after rest which often wears off with exercise
  • Panting
  • General lethargy and sleeping a lot
  • Hunched position
  • Becoming more grumpy
  • Licking affected joints

These symptoms are often worse when it is cold and damp.

Arthritic damage within a joint cannot be reversed but we can certainly slow the process down and control pain by various methods including diet, joint supplements, hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, acupuncture and pain killers. It is important to keep our pets pain free, so it is worth getting your pet checked by a vet as they may pick up areas of concern that you may not have thought were a problem.

Food Common poisons

Below is a list of common household foods and substances that can actually make our pets quite poorly.

Please bear in mind that this list is not exhaustive, and if you are ever unsure if something can be toxic to your pet, contact your vet as soon as possible for advice – it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Theobromine, found in chocolate, especially dark chocolate

Blocks certain receptors in the central nervous system, leading to tremors, fast heart rate and kidney dysfunction, high doses cause death

Organic sulphur compounds, found in onionsgarlic and other plants of the species Allium

Damages red blood cells, leading to a Heinz body anaemia. Causes vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal discomfort, death

Vitis vinifera fruit species, i.e. grapesraisinssultanascurrants

The toxic mechanism is unknown, but leads to intestinal bleeding, cessation of urination, acute kidney failure, neurological signs, death

Xylitol (artificial sweetener), found in sugar-free gum, sweets, toothpaste, some jams/peanut butters, some baked goods

Stimulates the release of insulin in the body, rapidly leading to dangerously low blood sugar, vomiting, collapse, seizures, coma, death

Anticoagulant rodentacides e.g. warfarin, difenacoum. Found in rat bait/poison

Inhibits blood clotting, leading to internal haemorrhage, pale gums, collapse, difficulty breathing, death

Ibuprofen and paracetamol (in cats), found in many pain-relief and cold/flu medicines

Kills special cells in the kidneys, leading to rapid kidney failure. Causes vomiting, inappetance, depression, convulsions, death

Ehylene glycol/ethanediol, found in antifreeze

Damages the kidney and rapidly decreases calcium levels. Causes vomiting, weakness, convulsions, coma, death.

Even if your pet seems fine, do not wait for the onset of clinical signs as it may already be too late. If you can get to your vet within 2 hours of ingestion, your vet may be able to make your pet sick. Some animals may need hospitalisation and intense treatment to flush out the toxins. The sooner treatment is started, the better the prognosis.

For more information, or if you suspect your pet has eaten something they shouldn’t, please call the clinic on 01245 324437.


Dental disease

Dental disease is one of the most common problems seen by vets in small animal practice and it is easily preventable with the correct dental hygiene programme. It is not just the dirty teeth that you see that is the problem, there is also unseen damage being done within the body.

As your pet eats, food particles accumulate on and between teeth and bacteria in the mouth use this to form plaque which in turn forms tartar (the hard material that builds up on the tooth surface).

Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) progresses to more serious periodontal disease where tooth attachments are lost and teeth can become loose. The huge amount of bacteria that is present then gains access to the circulation eventually leading to heart, liver and kidney problems and possibly even organ failure and don’t forget that bad teeth hurt! We don’t want our pets to be in pain or to have more serious consequences when it can be prevented so check their mouths for signs of dental disease and if you have concerns seek veterinary advice.

Signs of dental problems

Bad breath, Drooling (in rabbits you may only notice sticky fur on the front feet and you cannot see most of their teeth), Appearance of tartar, Reluctance to eat/reduced appetite, Teeth chattering especially in cats, Lethargy, Discoloured/broken teeth, Swelling of the face.

Preventative measures

Feeding a dry diet will help to reduce plaque and tartar build-up due to the mechanical action of chewing but also increased saliva production which contains natural antibacterial substances and wet diets seem to speed up plaque and tartar formation. There are also specific dental diets available from your vet but far and away the best form of prevention is teeth brushing (imagine what your teeth would be like without twice daily brushing!). This should be started at a young age to get you and your pet accustomed to the routine but can also be implemented later on with careful introduction. There are specially designed brushes and pastes that taste nice to animals. Do not use human toothpaste as this contains substances that are not good for pets. Come in for a free check.

Dental disease and diet in rabbits

Rabbits are different from humans in that their teeth erupt and then grow continuously throughout life and need to wear down during feeding to prevent dental problems. This is why diet is important as rabbits need to grind fibrous foods to keep their molars from getting sharp points which could lead to ulceration of the tongue and cheeks and abscess formation. The fibrous component in the diet is also very important for the health of the gastrointestinal system. Another important component of the rabbit diet is calcium which should neither be too little leading to soft bones and tooth movement, nor too much leading to urinary problems so the correct diet to feed your rabbit should be:

  • ad- lib fibrous food such as grass and good quality hay (poor quality hay is a poor source of calcium)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of pelleted food such as excel (muesli diets lead to selective feeding of the wrong components)
  • weeds, wild plants and herbs (rabbits love dandelions!)
  • vegetables such as cabbage, spinach and broccoli (avoid apples), carrot tops are better than actual carrots

Rabbits should also be encouraged to exercise outside each day to encourage gut motility and prevent vitamin D deficiency and do not give supplements unless prescribed. It is far more important to feed a balanced diet.

Signs of dental disease to look for are weight loss, drooling or sticky front paws, eating less or change in feeding preferences, sticky eyes, reduced grooming and a dirty bottom. If you are worried, pop your bunny in for a check up.

Fly strike

We all love a bit of warm weather but there are several problems we, as vets, encounter in the summer months of concern, one of which is fly strike. This is a really unpleasant problem encountered in domestic animals and can be fatal if not treated promptly. It is most commonly seen in rabbits but can occur in any species at any time when it is warm (April – October in the UK) and there are flies about and can escalate in a matter of hours.

Flies can strike any healthy animal but are attracted to wet or dirty areas of the coat particularly around the rear end, or any damaged skin. They lay eggs and these form into maggots which eat into the flesh and eventually cause toxic shock and death. If caught early flystrike can be treated successfully but this depends on the damage already caused to the animal.

The most at risk group of rabbits are those that cannot groom properly such as obese or elderly patients, those with dental problems or generally unwell animals and of course those with urinary or gastrointestinal problems that lead to a dirty or wet rear end.

If you discover flystrike in your pet it is an emergency and it should be taken to the vets immediately but if this is not possible try to remove any maggots seen with tweezers until you can get them to a vet. Heat (warm damp towel of low heat hairdryer) will draw the maggots to the surface to allow this.

However, as I always say, prevention is better than cure!

Heat stroke

We must all be aware how to avoid heat stroke in our pets as it can be fatal and remember DOGS DIE IN HOT CARS!

Dogs, unlike humans, do not sweat except from their foot pads and therefore do not tolerate high environmental temperatures like us. They use panting to exchange warm for cold air cooling them down and if the air temperature is close to that of the body this process is inefficient. If they get too hot they can then suffer heat stroke which can be rapidly fatal so there are a few signs to look for:

Signs of Heat Stroke

  • Heavy panting
  • Drooling thick saliva
  • Vomiting/Diarrhoea
  • Red gums/tongue turning grey
  • Rapid pulse
  • Inco-ordination
  • Lethargy/Collapse
  • Seizures

These symptoms will quickly lead to coma and death so to avoid this you must be aware of situations that make your pet susceptible.

Danger Situations

  • In a car (even with the windows open and when it’s not that warm it can reach 50oC in minutes acting like an oven)
  • In a glass conservatory
  • Exercise in hot, humid weather (try to walk them early or late in the day)
  • Animal already suffering heart or lung diseases
  • Muzzles that prevent panting
  • High fever/seizures
  • Animal confined on concrete/asphalt surfaces
  • No access to shade or water
  • Previous history of heat stroke
  • Short nosed breeds such as pugs, bulldogs etc…, old/young dogs, long haired breeds

If your dog has heat stroke it is important to get them out of the source of heat and then gradually cool them down.

What to do if your pet has heat stroke

  • Shower them with cool water and if possible place in a breeze or by a fan. Never use very cold water as this could cause shock or make the body temperature even higher. Continue this until breathing settles but stop before shivering starts
  • Allow them to drink small amounts of water at a time
  • Once cooled take to the vets immediately as although out of current danger there can be lasting effects so they require examination and possible treatment

Also remember that under the ‘Animal Welfare Act’ you have a legal duty to care for your animal and if you put them at risk you could face prosecution and have to live with your actions, resulting in the suffering of your animal, so be sensible on sunny days and we can all enjoy the summer sunshine!


Hydrotherapy comes from the Greek meaning water healing and is now widely used in the animal world. It is a low impact form of physiotherapy particularly useful in dogs. There are many benefits of hydrotherapy:

  • General cardiovascular fitness
  • Weight loss in combination with food restriction
  • Rehabilitation after injury or orthopaedic surgery
  • Management of certain medical conditions such as arthritis or elbow/hip dysplasia

It is a great form of exercise to help get joints moving where the animal’s bodyweight is supported by water allowing muscles to build without the impact on those joints that walking has. Studies have shown that a short hydrotherapy session equates to a several mile run.There are definitely benefits of hydrotherapy over swimming in lakes or the sea. Firstly the warm water helps reduce some swelling and pain and aids circulation and there are no bugs to cause nasty infections. Also it is a controlled environment with life jacket and staff on hand if there are any problems and what’s more it is fun!

I actively encourage hydrotherapy in my patients as I have seen the benefits first hand. Harvey Wallbanger (pictured) came to me as a pup with such severe hip dysplasia that I could push his hip joint out with my thumb very easily and he could not sit down properly. He was too young to consider total hip replacement and despite considering euthanasia due to the severity of the disease we opted for medical management coupled with hydrotherapy. Harvey took to the water immediately and his progress was amazing. By the age of 18 months he no longer needed painkillers and was able to sit like a normal dog. It was at this age that he would have needed a hip replacement but his therapy worked so well, that he did not need it and went on to live a long and happy life, thanks to the commitment of a conscientious owner.

Kennel cough

Kennel cough is a highly contagious infection that is spread via droplets when animals cough or sneeze. It therefore spreads very quickly when dogs are in close contact such as in kennels, at shows or training classes but can also be picked up when out for a walk due to contamination of the environment, and it can spread to cats as well in some cases. It is caused by a number of viruses and bacteria often in combination together but the good news is that we can help to prevent it with a vaccine. The vaccine protects against the Parainfluenza virus and the bacteria Bordetella Bronchiseptica that cause the most severe form of the disease. The picture shows an intranasal kennel cough vaccine being given.

Kennel Cough Symptoms

  • Harsh, dry hacking cough often with retching (distressing for dog and owner)
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Reduced appetite

Your dog may suffer all or some of these symptoms especially when excited, exercising or barking and the disease can lead to more serious complications such as pneumonia if left untreated especially in young, old and immune-compromised animals.

Kennel Cough Treatment

If your animal is unfortunate enough to get the disease then they should be kept quiet and away from other dogs until 7 days after they have stopped coughing as they can still transmit the disease although not as easily. You will need to visit the vets so that they can prescribe the appropriate medication. But prevention is better than cure so act now.

Kennel Cough Prevention

  • Routine vaccinations
  • Intranasal kennel cough vaccine
  • Avoidance of coughing dogs

As we think it is important to prevent this disease we offer kennel cough vaccines at a reduced rate when done with booster vaccinations. Please allow two weeks before entry to a kennel from vaccination but better still just get it now because, as mentioned, our dogs can get the disease when out for a walk!


Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that can affect many animals but we most commonly diagnose it in dogs. There are many strains of the bacteria that are prevalent in different geographical areas and unfortunately the disease is zoonotic, which means it can be spread to humans. Although it normally causes mild flu-like symptoms in humans, Leptospirosis or Weil’s disease can cause internal bleeding and organ failure in its most severe form.

The bacteria survive in warm, humid conditions and tend to be present in stagnant water such as ponds. The disease is transmitted by wild animals especially rodents so rural pets and hunting dogs are most at risk. Dogs can become infected by ingestion or contact with gums/broken skin of contaminated water or by exposure to the urine of infected animals or from bite wounds or ingestion of tissues.

The body’s immune system can clear infection but bacteria can also be shed for months in urine due to presence in the kidneys. The bacteria can affect many organs and the severity of disease depends on many things including age but it can be mild or sometimes fatal due to kidney/liver failure.

Leptospirosis Symptoms

Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Joint/muscle pain
  • Reduced appetite/lethargy
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Discharge from eyes and nose
  • Frequent urination then no urination
  • Jaundice (yellow gums, eyes and skin)

Leptospirosis Treatment and Prevention

Treatment is with antibiotics for extended periods but, as mentioned, the disease can be fatal if not treated early enough. Fortunately we can protect our dogs from this disease by routine vaccination. Previous vaccinations available only covered against two strains of the disease but there is now a new tetravalent vaccine that covers against four strains, which have been demonstrated in the UK. So it is important to keep up to date with routine vaccinations and the leptospirosis part needs to be done yearly to be effective. We now use this vaccine at Blaircourt to give your animals the best protection. Your dog may just require a top up of the new vaccine 4 weeks after its booster vaccination if it has not had the new one before to stimulate immunity. We are offering this second jab free of charge.


When there has been a lot of rain you will find there are lots of slugs and snails around. As well as being a pest to those green-fingered amongst you they are an important intermediate host involved in the spread of lungworm to dogs.

Lungworm (also known as French Heartworm) is a parasite that infects dogs and the adult lives in the heart and major blood vessels supplying the lungs where it can cause severe problems and if the disease is left untreated it can be fatal. Younger dogs and slug/snail eaters are more prone to infection but any dog can become infected.

Becoming infected with Lungworm

  • They can accidentally eat infected snails
  • Rummaging through undergrowth
  • Eating grass
  • Drinking from puddles
  • Drinking from outdoor water bowls
  • Playing with toys that have a slug/snail attached

Dogs cannot spread the disease to each other directly but do excrete parasite larvae in their faeces which can then start the life cycle again.

Symptoms of Lungworm

Symptoms of lungworm infection are easily confused with other illnesses and include:

  • Breathing problems, coughing and tiring easily
  • Excessive bleeding, nose bleeds or anaemia (pale gums)
  • Weight loss, poor appetite, vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Depression and possibly seizures

Lungworm Prevention

This nasty disease is easily prevented and treated if caught early but only with prescription medication available from your veterinary surgeon. If you are at all concerned or would like any advice about a parasite control programme please contact the surgery as prevention is better than cure! You can also take advantage of our fit friends yearly health plan that includes preventative treatment for this horrible disease. Cutting down the slug/snails in your garden will help but please beware some slug baits as these can also be harmful to pets

Neutering pets

Deciding whether to neuter your pet is an important decision and often worrying for owners. The truth is that the advantages far outweigh the risk of a general anaesthetic and include:

Bitch Spaying

– Prevent pregnancy, infection of the uterus, ovarian and uterine cancers and reduce likelihood of mammary cancer, all of which can be life threatening

– Remove inconvenience of a season and unwanted male dog attention

Dog Castration

– Prevent unwanted litters

– Prevent prostate disease, testicular cancer and perianal tumours associated with intact males

– Reduce certain behavioural problems

Cat Spaying and Castration

– Reduce stray cat population and transmission of serious diseases

– Prevent pregnancy and unwanted litters

– Remove unwanted behaviours such as spraying in males and calling in females

Rabbit Spaying and Castration

– Prevent various cancers

– Prevent aggressive behaviour

It is also important to realise that the myths associated with having the operation are not true e.g. animals do not put on weight unless they are being overfed, their personality will not change (as with the two lovely boys in the picture that frequent Blaircourt) and there is no medical reason to let a bitch have one litter before spaying. If you are not going to breed from your pet then we advise neutering them. We recommend spaying bitches at approximately 6 months before their first season to reduce the risk of mammary cancer later in life but if they have had a season the operation should be done 3 months after the season to prevent haemorrhage. Dog castrates can be done from 6 months, cats can be neutered at 6 months or earlier if felt necessary and rabbits can be done from 4 months.


We all worry about gaining a few pounds and this is also an issue for our pets. As is the case with humans, obesity is becoming an increasing problem for our four legged friends with an estimated 20-40% of the pet population being overweight. It is now the most common medical disorder of companion animals and is a major welfare concern as it can reduce both the length and quality of a pet’s life. The list of diseases associated with obesity is long but a few examples include:

– Heart and respiratory problems

– Diabetes Mellitus

– Osteoarthritis

– High Blood Pressure

– Skin problems

– Urinary problems especially in cats

– Some cancers

Overweight animals also carry a higher anaesthetic risk and are more susceptible to heat stroke.

It is a shame that we have let our animals suffer from obesity and its related diseases as it is an easily preventable condition. The cause is simply that the food they eat contains more energy than they use up so prevention involves feeding a good diet, avoiding titbits, treats and table scraps and giving regular exercise.

Is your pet overweight?

– You should be able to see and feel their ribs

– You should be able to see a waistline from above

– The belly should be tucked up behind the chest when viewed from the side

If you are worried about your pets weight pop them in for a weigh in and we can chat about what to do if they are overweight.


Parasites are organisms that live on or inside other living creatures, some of which cause discomfort or disease and even death in our pets, others which can act as carriers for other infectious organisms. Some of these also pose human health risks which can be very serious so implementing a control programme for parasites in our pets is very important.

External Parasites

  • Fleas – bites can cause dermatitis, heavy infestation can cause anaemia, and they will infest your home very quickly!
  • Ticks – reaction at the site of attachment and transfer of diseases such as Lyme disease to animals and humans in the UK, other diseases abroad
  • Lice – intense itching and skin problems
  • Mites – several types cause varying degrees of skin disease one of which transfers to humans
  • Mosquitos – a nuisance but carry serious diseases abroad so beware if travelling with your pet

Internal Parasites

  • Intestinal worms – can cause mild intestinal disease to anaemia and some can cause serious human disease and blindness if ingested
  • Lungworm – varies from mild disease to death, dogs are affected when they ingest an infected slug/snail
  • Heartworm – not in the UK but a risk for travelling pets, can be fatal
  • Various other parasites causing disease

Parasite Prevention

You may think your pet is not at risk but many parasites are passed with close contact with other pets, also from eating infected faeces and this includes foxes. Any cat that brings presents home is at risk from infected mice/birds and most importantly ingesting slugs and snails can lead to a dog becoming infected with the fatal disease, lungworm. Good hygiene and clearing up faeces are a must in controlling spread of disease but animals also require a good control programme to prevent infection so beware shop bought products as these may not give appropriate cover. Please call us or go to for more information. Take advantage of our fit friends healthplan to help protect your pet.

Pet vaccination

As I always say ‘Prevention is better than cure’ and vaccination is the only safe way to provide immunity against a number of dangerous diseases which can infect our pets. Immunity is the body’s natural ability to fight infection and vaccination confers immunity by exposing the body to a small but harmless dose of the disease in question. Newborn animals are usually protected in their first few weeks by immunity passed through the mother’s first milk (colostrum). This immunity will fade leaving the young susceptible to disease so at this point it is important to start routine vaccinations to protect your pet. Routine vaccination has resulted in a decline in some horrible viruses in the UK but it is important to continue vaccination programmes to prevent re-emergence of these diseases. We at Blaircourt believe in not over-vaccinating our patients so follow guidelines to only give the vaccines that are necessary yearly and a full booster only every few years.

Dog Vaccination

Dogs are routinely vaccinated against:

  • Canine Parvovirus
  • Distemper
  • Infectious Canine Hepatitis
  • Leptospirosis

But can also benefit from the Kennel Cough vaccine that protects against Parainfluenza virus and Bordetella Bronchiseptica if they are to spend time in kennels or are at risk of contracting the disease.

Breeding bitches can be vaccinated against Canine Herpes virus and animals that travel abroad are also required to have a vaccine against Rabies.

Our protocol involves a puppy course of 2 doses of vaccine 4 weeks apart from the age of 6 weeks then yearly booster vaccinations.

Cat Vaccination

Cats are routinely vaccinated against:

  • Feline Infectious Enteritis
  • Feline Herpes Virus and Calicivirus, which cause ‘cat flu’

And they can also be protected from Feline Leukaemia if they are outdoor or at risk cats.

Our protocol involves a kitten course of 2 doses of vaccine from 8 weeks 3-4 weeks apart depending on the age at which they start and a yearly booster.

Rabbit Vaccination

Rabbits are routinely vaccinated against:

  • Myxomatosis
  • Viral Haemorrhagic Disease

Both these diseases are rapidly fatal so a yearly vaccination programme is essential to protect your bunny.


Pyometra is an infection within the uterus that commonly occurs in older un-spayed female dogs but can also be seen in other mammals and can occur at any age. We consider it an important disease for dog owners to be aware of due to the speed with which it can cause serious illness and death. It is caused by hormonal changes and bacteria such as E.coli gaining entry to the uterus when the cervix is open during a dog’s season or following pregnancy. The uterus fills with pus and can be very heavy, the uterus in the picture weighed half a stone!!

Signs of Pyometra

Signs usually appear 1-2 months after a season and include:

  • Licking back end
  • Vomiting
  • Depression and loss of appetite
  • Collapse
  • Drinking/urinating more
  • Vulval discharge (not always)

If the cervix has closed to seal in the infection you will not see a discharge but it is very serious as the dog will quickly go into septic shock and the uterus can rupture or the kidneys can fail leading to death if left untreated.

Treatment of Pyometra

Treatment of the condition involves intravenous fluids, antibiotics and emergency spaying which carries more risks at this time than the routine operation carried out electively in healthy dogs.

The best prevention of this horrible condition is simply to have females spayed at a young age when they are fit and healthy; we recommend six months of age before first season. If the bitch is used for breeding then spaying when they have had their last litter is highly recommended. The use of hormone injections are a risk factor in the disease process so avoiding their use or careful monitoring afterwards is also advised.

Pyometra is unfortunately a common and serious problem and is one of many good reasons to get your bitch spayed early.