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Metritis in dogs is inflammation of the endometrium (lining) of the uterus due to a bacterial infection, usually occurring within a week after a dog has given birth.

Metritis is a condition which can only happen to female dogs.

Predisposing causes include prolonged delivery, dystocia, and retained fetuses or placentas. It can also develop after a natural or medical abortion, miscarriage, or after a non-sterile artificial insemination.

The primary clinical sign is purulent vulvar discharge. Bitches or queens with metritis are usually depressed, with signs of fever, lethargy, and inappetence, and may neglect their offspring. Pups may become restless and cry incessantly.

Dog owners need to be particularly careful during and after labor in case any complications arise. The postpartum period is also very important to ensure the health of both mother and puppies.

One particular thing to know is that, if metritis in your dog is suspected, you will need to go to the veterinarian immediately. If treatment is not instigated the results can be fatal.

Causes of Metritis in Dogs

The cause of metritis is a bacterial infection commonly caused by Escherichia coli (E.coli), but can also be from streptococci, staphylococci, Proteus. Any of these bacterial infections may be prompted by

  • Difficult birth
  • Prolonged delivery, perhaps with a large litter
  • Obstetric manipulation
  • Retained fetuses or placentas
  • Natural or medical abortion, miscarriage
  • Natural or artificial insemination (rare)

Symptoms of Metritis in Dogs

The first symptom you will probably notice is the bad smelling discharge (with or without pus) coming from your dog’s vulva (vaginal area). Some of the other symptoms of metritis are:

  • Fever
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Dark red gums
  • Dehydration
  • Depression
  • Neglecting pups
  • Lack of milk production
  • Decreased appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fast heart rate
  • Vulvar discharge

Treatment of Metritis in Dogs

Treatment of metritis in dogs consists of antibiotics, drugs to help the uterus empty, probiotics, 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 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.


After diagnoses, make sure your dog receives all prescribed medication. Dogs that are spayed as part of the treatment usually do quite well.

Metritis may become chronic and cause infertility in breeding bitches, when ovariohysterectomy is not an option and medical therapy is not properly instituted.

Since metritis is a uterine disease, spaying your dog is the only way to prevent disease


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