How Much Does Pyometra Dog Surgery Cost?

smiling female dog

Aside from pregnancy prevention, one of the main reasons veterinarians urge dog owners to have their female puppies spayed is that doing so will preemptively mitigate life-threatening reproductive risks like mammary tumors, uterine cancer, and pyometra.  

Pyometra, a rampant hormone-induced infection of the uterus, is typically treated with emergency surgery to remove the afflicted uterus and ovaries if caught early enough. However, since this condition is both time-sensitive and complex to treat, pyometra dog surgery costs anywhere from five to ten times the amount of a routine spay. 

If you are the owner of an unspayed female dog, it’s important that you keep your eyes open for any clinical signs indicative of pyometra in your pet, especially after her heat cycle, such as:

  • Low energy and lethargic behavior
  • Increased urination
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen or painful abdomen

Regardless of whether or not you think your dog could be exhibiting symptoms of pyometra, any unusual behavior should result in immediate veterinary attention.

Breakdown: Cost Of Pyometra Surgery For Dogs 

In the event that your dog is diagnosed with pyometra by a licensed veterinarian, the most common next step is an immediate ovariohysterectomy surgery to target the source of the infection — the uterus and ovaries. 

Whereas the cost of a standard, non-emergency spay operation can range from approximately $30-$400, emergency pyometra surgery can cost $1,000-$3,000+ depending on the animal’s breed, age, and size, as well as the severity of the infection. 

There are two types of pyometra that slightly differ in severity, and therefore potential cost. Dogs with open pyometra — when an open cervix allows pus caused by the infection to exude from the body — tend to be slightly less severe but still critical. Dogs with closed pyometra — when the cervix is not open, and infection builds up in the body — are at an even higher risk of death and prolonged hospitalization following surgery. 

The location of the procedure and independent vet fees will also factor into how expensive your pet’s pyometra surgery could be. 

Pyometra Surgery Cost Quotes

The cost of any veterinary service, pyometra surgery or not, will vary from vet to vet. We found a few real price points for pyometra surgery from licensed veterinary surgeons around the United States to show you how costs differ per clinic, per state.

Veterinary Service Provider

Price of Pyometra Surgery

Location

Veterinary Surgery Service Inc. 

$1,400 for pets under 22 lbs. $1,700 for pets over 22 lbs.

Walton Beach, FL

Affordable Animal Hospital, Silver Lake

$2,200 and up

Los Angeles, CA

Helping Hands Low-Cost Clinic

$575 plus $90 for bloodwork

Richmond, VA

Typical Costs & Factors

For the most part, the case-by-case severity of pyometra will be the most considerable piece in determining the collective cost of surgery. Dogs with more advanced pyometra will likely require a more intensive schedule of medical treatments as well as emergency stabilization to correct abnormal vitals with the proper antibiotics, prescription painkillers, intravenous fluids (IV), and extended hospitalization, especially if the infection has already triggered sepsis or kidney failure. The larger your dog is in size, the more expensive itemized medicines and treatments will be simply because of its need for higher dosage concentrations.

Pyometra surgery alone is a more complex and labor-intensive endeavor than routine ovariohysterectomies, which no doubt contributes to its costliness. Because pyometra primarily affects older dogs, already fragile health combined with a critical condition presents much higher risks on the operating table than spaying a healthy six-month-old puppy. 

Additional fees may apply if your dog undergoes emergency pyometra surgery outside of a vet’s regular business hours, which some animal hospitals offer exclusively for time-sensitive conditions. 

Minimum Costs Associated

Following a pyometra diagnosis, usually by ultrasound which costs $300-$500 for a full scan, all other expenses on the lower end of the spectrum will likely be related to preliminary treatments like antibiotics and IV support in order to stabilize your dog before the surgery itself, and then any rounds of similar medication during your dog’s post-op recovery. 

Here’s an estimated summary of what related treatments might cost you:

  • IV antibiotics/fluids — approximately $150
  • IV fluids/electrolytes — approximately $50-$75
  • Blood work (to track white blood cell count) — approximately $80-$200
  • A two-week course of oral antibiotics — approximately $60-$150
  • Post-operative checkup — $30-$50

Maximum Costs Associated

The most expensive part of resolving pyometra is going to be the surgery itself, which is on average priced from $1,000 to $3,000 or more. As previously mentioned, the true price of your dog’s surgery will be based on her breed, size, age, and how critical her condition is.

The cheapest possible option for the pyometra surgery itself probably sits somewhere around $500 if you’re able to either find a low-cost clinic able to help at a discounted rate or by securing urgent care financial assistance from a non-profit animal welfare organization like RedRover

Low-cost clinics with fewer amenities and accreditations will cost less than more high-end offices with state-of-the-art veterinary technology. It ultimately depends on who you trust with the life of your pup.  

On average, general anesthesia is charged by the half-hour, which can cost between $30 to $90 for every 30 minutes of administration. Like any other pharmaceutical treatment, the concentration of canine general anesthesia needed will hinge heavily on your dog’s weight.

What Unexpected Costs Can Occur From Pyometra Surgery?

Extended hospitalizations following surgery are the most common extraneous cost related to pyometra surgery. Extra inpatient care is usually reserved for dogs that endured a more chronic case of pyometra from the start or experienced complications during the operation. Short hospitalizations usually run between $700 and $1,500, whereas longer hospitalizations can vary in cost from $1,700 to $3,500. 

Given that pyometra causes pretty dramatic swelling of the uterus, surrounding blood vessels can become stretched and vulnerable to ruptures both before and during surgery. When excessive blood loss does occur during surgery, a blood transfusion may be necessary. Individual units of blood can cost $150 to $300 per bag.

Pyometra Surgery Overview: What To Expect

What Happens During Pyometra Surgery?

After your dog receives the general anesthetic, she will be laid on her back so the veterinarian can have a full view of her abdominal area. Then, an incision will be made along the middle of the belly so that the vet can make sure the infection hasn’t spread elsewhere. Next, they’ll remove the infected uterus and ovaries with an incision above the cervix. Once the infected organs are extracted, all open incisions are flushed with a sterile solution and closed using sutures.

Side Effects

As your pup recovers from her surgery, some potentially dangerous side effects to watch out for include wound infection, excessive swelling, signs of hemorrhaging, urinary tract infections, and peritonitis. Each of these could develop into more serious conditions if left untreated. 

Recovery Time

You should expect your dog to need a minimum of two weeks to recover from her pyometra surgery fully. However, that time frame may vary based on the extent of her initial illness, surgery complications, and any post-op concerns. 

Does Pet Insurance Cover Pyometra Surgery Costs?

Whether or not pyometra surgery is covered by pet insurance varies by insurer, so if you do have pet insurance, you’ll want to double-check the exclusions of your policy terms. Under most accident-illness policies, pyometra would be deemed an emergency illness, therefore, warranting coverage for its required treatment.

If you’re not yet enrolled in pet insurance, and your dog has recently been diagnosed with pyometra, you won’t be able to find financial support through pet insurance coverage for her upcoming surgery costs as all policies would deem the pyometra as a pre-existing condition, which isn’t eligible for reimbursement under any provider.

In the event that you own an unspayed dog and are now looking to have your pooch fixed to avoid pyometra and other reproductive abnormalities caused by hormonal changes, it may be hard to find coverage for that procedure through pet insurance unless it’s included in your policy as a wellness add-on. Very few providers will include reimbursements for spay/neuter surgeries in their base plans as it’s considered an elective procedure. 

Final Thoughts

The highest cost of pyometra is your dog’s life. Most don’t realize that pyometra can progress into its most fatal stages in as little as four days after initial signs of illness. Pet owners without pet insurance are often forced to choose euthanasia over an operation, given how exorbitantly expensive pyometra dog surgery is out-of-pocket. So, unless your dog is unspayed for the purpose of licensed and responsible breeding, early ovariohysterectomies reduce your dog’s predisposition to pyometra by 100%.