Canine pyometra is a life-threatening disease common in countries where spaying of dogs is not routinely performed. The disease is associated with endotoxemia, sepsis, systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) and a 3–4% mortality rate. Blood lactate analysis is clinically valuable in predicting prognosis and survival, evaluating tissue perfusion and treatment response in human and veterinary critical care settings. The aims of the present study were to investigate 1) the blood lactate levels of female dogs with pyometra by a hand-held analyser and 2) if these levels are related with the clinical status or other biochemical or hematological disorders.
In total 31 female dogs with pyometra admitted for surgical ovariohysterectomy and 16 healthy female control dogs were included in the present study. A complete physical examination including SIRS-status determination was performed. Blood samples for lactate concentrations, hematological and biochemical parameters, acid-base and blood gas analysis and other laboratory parameters were collected and subsequently analysed. The diagnosis pyometra was verified with histopathological examination of the uterus and ovaries. Increased hospitalisation length and presence of SIRS were used as indicators of outcome.
In the pyometra group the median blood lactate level was 1,6 mmol l-1 (range <0.8–2.7 mmol l-1). In the control group the median lactate level was 1,2 mmol l-1 (range <0.8–2.1 mmol l-1). Of the 31 bitches 19 (61%) fulfilled 2 or more criteria for SIRS at inclusion, 10 bitches (32%) fulfilled 3 of the SIRS criteria whereas none accomplished more than 3 criteria. Lactate levels did not differ significantly between the pyometra and control group, or between the SIRS positive and SIRS negative dogs with pyometra. Increased lactate concentration (>2.5 mmol l-1) was demonstrated in one female dog with pyometra (3%), and was not associated with longer hospitalisation or presence of SIRS. Lactate measurement was not indicative of peritonitis. None of the bitches died during or within two months of the hospital stay. The measurements of temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, percentage bandforms of neutrophilic granulocytes, α2-globulins, creatinin, pvCO2, TCO2 and base excess showed significant differences between the SIRS positive and the SIRS negative pyometra cases.
Increased blood lactate concentrations were demonstrated in 3% (1/31), and SIRS was present in 61% (19/31) of the female dogs with pyometra. Preoperative lactate levels were not related with presence of SIRS or prolonged hospitalisation. Lactate measurement was not indicative of peritonitis. The value of a single and repeated lactate analysis in more severely affected cases remains to be determined.