PDSA veterinary staff in Stoke-on-Trent undertook an emergency operation to save the life of a dog presented with a severe pyometra so large it represented one fifth of her bodyweight.

Thirteen-year-old crossbreed Molly was taken to the PDSA PetAid hospital by her owner, Vicky Cairns, who had become concerned at the size of her bulging stomach.

“I noticed Molly had been getting bigger, and my first thought was that she had put on a bit of weight, but I soon realised something was wrong, so I took her to see the vet at PDSA,” said Vicky.

As soon as the charity’s veterinary team examined Molly, they knew her life was in severe danger.

Duncan Senior, PDSA’s senior vet, said: “Molly came to us with a very severe pyometra – a serious infection of the uterus, which can rupture and cause a very unpleasant death.”

Molly’s pyometra weighed 5kg – one fifth of her bodyweight, which is a very severe case.

Duncan added: “I’ve never seen anything like it in my life – the infected uterus was stretched so tight it was fit to burst and the biggest I’ve seen. The amount of infection was building up an enormous pressure, which could have ruptured at any moment, filling Molly’s abdomen with pus.”

“We rushed Molly into theatre to carefully remove her uterus. It was a delicate operation, due to the risk of rupturing, but it went smoothly and Molly made a very good recovery.”

Though potentially fatal, pyometra can be simply prevented by neutering. Across the UK, more than one quarter of dogs are not neutered, leaving more than two million at risk of serious health problems.

Duncan added: “Around 20% of the cases we see at PDSA could be prevented through vaccinations or neutering. Thanks to £600,000 funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, we’re now able to better educate owners about the risks of these illnesses, to help prevent other pets becoming sick like Molly.”

Vicky said: “Molly means the world to me and I don’t know what I’d do without her. I was so relieved when I heard the operation had gone well. I’d never heard of pyometra before, but I wouldn’t want anyone else to have to go through it with their pet – this could have been prevented and I’d encourage all owners to get their pets neutered.”

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