Last year at this time, my wife, Melodee, and I had to deal with a heartbreaking situation. On Sept. 1, 2018, we had to have our 6-year-old Labradoodle, Ruby, put down.
We are not looking for sympathy, rather, we want to inform owners of female dogs about why we had to do what we did and to urge these dog owners to have their dogs spayed to avoid the heartbreak.
Ruby had never been spayed. She was never allowed to roam the neighborhood so the chance of her getting pregnant was about zero percent.
We had lost our 15-year-old Pomeranian last August to natural causes so when Ruby became somewhat lethargic, we thought she was just sad that her canine friend was not around anymore. Within two weeks, she was showing signs of illness — not eating well and vomiting — but she still had some enthusiasm, as the Labrador part of her shined through. She never showed us that she was in pain.
When she vomited lots of liquid on that fateful day, we took her immediately to the emergency animal hospital in Warren.
Without going into the details of the final hours there, we were told that Ruby was extremely ill, that she had contracted pyometra — a disease that neither of us had ever heard of. Pyometra is an infection of the uterus. When a female dog “goes in heat,” or estrus, infection can set in. After many years of estrus cycles without pregnancy, the uterine wall undergoes the changes that promote this disease. It doesn’t occur to all dogs — both of our 15-year-old Poms were females who were not spayed and did not contract pyometra.
We had to decide on immediate surgery or putting her down. The cost of surgery was out of our range and we were told Ruby had only a 50/50 chance of surviving the surgery.
We said our tearful good-byes to Ruby and vowed to tell people about pyometra. I will probably do this each year on the anniversary of Ruby’s demise. She was too young.
Please, if you don’t want to go through what we went through, get your female dog spayed when she and you are ready. But don’t wait.