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Pymetra refers to a “pus filled uterus” and quite simply is a infection effecting the female uterus. Pyometra is becoming a more common occurrence in rats in Perth. Although we have only heard of this issue and never personally experienced it we felt it was important to touch on this health issue as it is life threatening and requires immediate vet treatment and surgery.

Pyometras only occur in females as it is an infection in the uterus or womb of female rats. There are 2 types of Pyometra; Open Pyometra and Closed Pyometra.

In the case of an Open Pyometra you will see a swollen abdomen (belly) as well as pus and blood coming from the vaginal opening. As the cervix is open in this type of Pyometra the blood and pus should alert you to the issue if you have not noticed the swollen abdomen (possible if your female is very large).

In a Closed Pyometra the rat will have a swollen abdomen (belly) but the presents of blood and pus will NOT occur as the cervix is closed. This type of Pyometra seals the infection inside the uterus which then the rat body absorbs into their bloodstream causing toxicity and eventual death.

Any abdominal swelling needs to be seen by a qualified vet. If Pyometra is suspected then general the rat will be placed on a strong broad spectrum antibiotic before surgery is performed. The surgery is similar to a spay but more tricky as the vet needs to make sure that no leaks of the infected fluid are introduced to the body during surgery. Making sure the vet performing the surgery is knowledgeable and has experience with this type of surgery is extremely important.

If a Pyometra is left untreated the animal will die.