The cost of pyometra surgery can put a substantial dent into a dog owner's wallet. However, this surgery can be a life saver considering how deadly an untreated pyometra can turn out to be.
The cost of pyometra surgery in dogs may vary based on several factors. For instance, prices can vary widely based on location, but also based on how ill the dog is and whether there is need for hospitalization.
Whether a dog's pyometra is open or closed, surgery remains the gold standard treatment.
How Do Dogs Get Pyometra?
Canine pyometra is a pathological process that takes place in two phases.
The first pathologic change is what's known as cystic endometrial hyperplasia (CEH) which is the thickening of the dog's uterine lining due to repeated heat cycles.
High levels of serum estrogen followed by prolonged elevation in progesterone after every cycle, promote hyper-reactivity of the lining of the uterus and gradual cystic hyperplasia.
The second pathologic change is infection. Anatomically, the dog's cervix is the gateway to the uterus.
The dog's cervix normally remains tightly closed except during estrus (the part of the heat cycle when the dog is ready to mate and fertile) when it relaxes so to allow dogs to become pregnant. If the cervix is either open or relaxed, then bacteria have a chance to easily enter the uterus.
In normal physiological conditions, the uterine environment does not support bacterial survival. However, when there is a thickened or cystic uterine wall, it creates the perfect condition for bacteria to grow and thrive.
In addition, because of the wall being thickened or the influence of progesterone, the muscles of the uterus cannot properly contract which means that the bacteria that entered the uterus cannot be expelled, explains veterinarian Dr. Ivana Crnec.
The Importance of Prompt Veterinary Treatment
Pyometra in female dogs is a serious and life threatening, medical emergency that requires rapid and aggressive intervention.
Without treatment, the infection can turn quickly fatal. During the last decade, numerous treatments have been proposed to treat both open and closed cervix pyometra. All treatments can be categorized in two groups – medical and surgical.
Medical treatment of pyometra may only be considered in cases of open pyometra and if the symptoms are mild, but medicines cannot guarantee positive outcome.
Even if the present outcome is positive, future management of the estrous cycles are required.
The treatment of choice when it comes to pyometra is ovariohysterectomy (complete removal of the uterus and ovaries). The main advantage of surgical over medical management is that it is curative and prevents future occurrences.
The Cost of Surgery for Dogs With Pyometra
Before performing surgery, it will be necessary to run several tests to confirm or rule out pyometra. The tests often include blood work, x-rays and ultrasound. Occasionally exploratory surgery may be necessary.
The spay surgery for pyometra isn't as an ordinary routine spay. Yes, the uterus and ovaries will need to be removed, but extra care is needed to prevent any infected contents of the uterus from spilling out and bleeding will need to controlled.
Following surgery, the dog may need to be hospitalized for some days, and once sent home, the dog will need to continue medications such as antibiotics and pain relievers.
Following are several rough estimates of the cost of pyometra surgery, based on a variety of factors.
Normal Surgery (with no complications) Range: $2,000-$2,400
In this case, the dog is stable prior to the surgery and the surgery is uneventful and therefore the dog requires no additional hospitalization.
Cost includes physical exam, x-rays, blood work, anesthesia, surgery, surgical monitoring, IV catheter and fluids, antibiotic injection, pain injection, medications to send home and Elizabethan-collar.
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Stabilization Surgery and 2 Day Hospitalization Range $3,000-$ 4,000
This higher estimate is for dogs who are too ill to undergo surgery and require some time to be stabilized and then endure follow-up hospitalization.
Cost includes physical exam, x-rays, blood work, IV catheter placement, IV fluids, anesthesia, surgery, surgical monitoring, IV antibiotics, IV pain meds, electrolytes check, 2 day hospitalization, recheck bloodwork, medications to send home and Elizabethan-collar.
Stabilization Surgery and 4 Day Hospitalization Range $4,500-$ 5,500
This higher estimate is for dogs who are ill and at high risk for surgery. They need to be stabilized before surgery and are at high risk for blood loss.
Cost includes physical exam, x-rays, blood work, IV catheter placement, IV fluids, anesthesia, surgery, surgical monitoring, possible blood transfusion, hetastarch infusion (to replace blood plasma volume)IV antibiotics, IV pain meds, electrolytes check, blood pressure check, 4 day hospitalization, recheck bloodwork, medications to send home and Elizabethan-collar.
Medical Treatment (Only for Open Pyometra) Range $500-$700
This option as mentioned is only for dogs with open pyometra who are stable or in some cases as a last-ditch effort for desperate cases where surgery is not an option.
Cost includes physical exam, x-rays, bloodwork, antibiotics, prostaglandin injections and pain medications.
Euthanasia (for Untreatable Cases) Range $200-500
Prices vary based on the dog's weight and choice for burial, private cremation or communal cremation.
Unable to Afford Dog Pyometra Surgery?
If finances are an issue, consider that Care Credit can help provide money upfront, and many vet clinics offer it as an option to qualified clients.
Another option is calling around shelters as they may have low-cost vets on call or calling a veterinary school to see if they can help. This can help provide students with an opportunity to gain hands-on surgical experience while helping pets in need