Pyometra in captive large felids: a review of eleven cases

J Zoo Wildl Med. 2009 Mar;40(1):147-51. doi: 10.1638/2008-0008.1.


Eleven cases of pyometra were diagnosed in a captive exotic felid collection over 3 yr in seven African lions (Panthera leo), two tigers (P. tigris), one liger (lion-tiger crossbreed), and one leopard (P. pardus). Clinical signs included anorexia, lethargy, vulvar discharge, and vomiting. Diagnosis was based on clinical signs, complete blood cell counts, plasma biochemistry and electrolyte values, radiographs, and abdominal ultrasonography. The most common findings on complete blood count and biochemistry profiles were leukocytosis (>15,000/microL) and hyperproteinemia (>8.2 g/dL) due to increased globulins. Abdominal radiographic findings were largely nonspecific, but ultrasonography routinely showed a distended, fluid-filled uterus. Each case was treated with ovariohysterectomy and systemic antibiotic therapy. Lions were shown to be at an increased risk for developing pyometra compared with other species. Pyometra should be considered as a differential diagnosis in anorexic or lethargic intact female large felids, and ovariohysterectomy may be warranted in nonbreeding female lions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Zoo
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Felidae*
  • Female
  • Hysterectomy / methods
  • Hysterectomy / veterinary*
  • Lions
  • Ovariectomy / methods
  • Ovariectomy / veterinary*
  • Pyometra / diagnosis
  • Pyometra / drug therapy
  • Pyometra / surgery
  • Pyometra / veterinary*
  • Tigers


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents