TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Local veterinarians are seeing more cases of a condition called Pyometra in pets, but they say you can prevent it.
A warning, some of the images included in this article are graphic.
Gage Animal Hospital has seen six cases of Pyometra in cats and dogs since January -- they'd seen that many total in the past two years.
"It's an infection of the uterus typically caused by the hormonal changes that a dog or cat goes through during their heat cycle." Associate Veterinarian Dr. Leslie Blackwell said.
She pointed out Pyometra can occur in other mammals too, said spotting symptoms early can make all the difference.
"A lot of the times we notice discharge from their vulva,” Blackwell said. “When we are palpating an animals abdomen we can actually sometimes feel the amount of puss filled uterus and their belly and can kind of bloated or distended."
A cat, Gage Animal Hospital posted on Facebook, lost more than half its body weight when her puss filled uterus was removed.
Owners can prevent the infection altogether by spaying their female pets.
"If Pyometra is left untreated that animal can develop a life threatening infection called sepsis and can lead to death." Blackwell stated.
And age isn't a factor either -- a senior Chihuahua contracted the disease.
"They [pets] will continue to go through heat cycles their entire life. Anytime a dog or cat goes through a heat cycle they are at risk for developing this life-threatening infection." Blackwell explained.
Blackwell isn't sure why more cases are showing up recently - but hopes education can save pets lives.
If you suspect your pet is exhibiting signs of Pyometra contact your veterinarian immediately.
For more information on the condition and symptoms just click here.