Breeding, Reproductive Health Advice, Whelping

Metritis in Dogs: Understanding Uterus Infections in Dogs

How do I know if my dog has metritis? Metritis in dogs is an infection of the uterus, during or after dog pregnancy. It is different than a pyometra, which is a female dog uterus infection unrelated to pregnancy.

Metritis in Dogs Symptoms

Metritis can be diagnosed based on symptoms such as fever, loss of appetite, a sick female, and a larger volume of uterine and vaginal discharge with a thick dark color and a foul smell.

Causes of Canine Metritis

A retained puppy that dies inside the mom can lead to canine metritis. Other causes include retained placentas, or fluid in the uterus.

There are steps you can take to lessen the chances of your female developing this infection. Using calcium such as Breeder’s Edge® Oral Cal Plus Gel during labor can reduce the risk of a placenta being left in her uterus. In addition, knowing how many pups the female should have and intervening if all the placentas have not passed using oxytocin and calcium can save the cost of medical or surgical intervention, the female’s uterus and possibly her life. Working with a veterinary clinic that has the ability to take high quality x-rays is essential. Taking her to the vet without breakfast and after walking her to have her have a stool is an important part of getting an accurate count.

Metritis Treatment in Dogs

Treatment of metritis in dogs consists of antibiotics, drugs to help the uterus empty, probiotics such as Doc Roy’s GI Synbiotics, and supportive care including fluids and medications if needed to manage vomiting. After 24 hours post-whelping, oxytocin will no longer help the uterus to contract. If a retained placenta is diagnosed or suspected, a prostaglandin injection can help the uterus empty. If a retained pup(s) is diagnosed based on ultrasound, palpation or puppy count x-ray, surgery is usually required to manage the metritis. After more than 24 hours from the last pup passing, the fluid around the pup is gone, and the pup adheres to the uterine lining, making the pup almost impossible to pass without surgical intervention.

If you have more questions on metritis in dogs or female dog uterus infections, call a Revival Pet Care Pro at 800.786.4751.

Written by: Marty Greer, DVM

Director of Veterinary Services

Marty Greer, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, has 40+ years’ experience in veterinary medicine, with special interests in canine reproduction and pediatrics. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University in 1981. She’s served as Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services since 2019. In 2023, Dr. Greer was named the Westminster Kennel Club Veterinarian of the Year.

If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751.