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Research article2011Peer reviewed

A breed-matched case-control study of potential risk-factors for canine pyometra

Hagman, Ragnvi; Lagerstedt, Anne-Sofie; Hedhammar, Åke; Egenvall, Agneta


The objective was to evaluate plausible risk-factors for pyometra, a common disease affecting almost 25% of all (unspayed) female dogs before 10 years of age. Because of the strong breed-predilection, an age- and breed-matched case-control study was undertaken on 87 pairs (pyometra-cases and healthy controls) from five breeds (Rottweiler (n = 13), Collie (n = 8), Golden retriever (n = 24), Labrador retriever (n = 16) and German shepherd dog (n = 26)). The mean age was 7.9 y (range 0.8-13.8 y). Variables analyzed included pseudopregnancy, age at first oestrus, length of and regularity of the interoestrus interval, hormone treatments, nulliparity, number of parities, age at first whelping, previous urinary tract infections and mammary tumours. Data were modelled multivariably using matched-pair conditional logistic regression. Analysing interactions with breed, previous pregnancy was statistically associated with pyometra. When amalgamated, in three breeds previous pregnancy was protective (Rottweiler, Collie, Labrador retriever) and in one breed statistically intermediate (German shepherd dog) when compared to the baseline (Golden retriever). Previous pregnancy was a statistically significant factor that had a protective effect against pyometra in some breeds but not in the Golden retriever breed. These findings indicate that protective- and risk-factors may vary between different breeds. The obvious problem with low power and limited possibility for extrapolation, using few dogs in few breeds, is acknowledged. However, it is suggested that failure to control for the confounding effect of breed, especially in epidemiological studies on dog diseases, may lead to potentially erroneous conclusions. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Infection; Dog; Epidemiology; Risk factors; Pair-matched case-control study; Pyometra; Confounding

Published in

2011, Volume: 75, number: 7, pages: 1251-1257