Cystic endometrial hyperplasia-pyometra complex is the most frequent and important endometrial disorder encountered in bitches. The pathogenesis of the disease is related to the activity of progesterone [Feldman and Nelson, Canine and Feline Endocrinology and Reproduction (1996) W.B. Saunders, Philadelphia]. Cystic endometrial hyperplasia (CEH) is an abnormal response of the bitch's uterus to ovarian hormones [De Bosschere et al. Theriogenology (2001) 55, 1509]. CEH is considered by many authors to be an exaggerated response of the uterus to chronic progestational stimulation during the luteal phase of the oestrous cycle, causing an abnormal accumulation of fluid within the endometrial glands and uterine lumen (De Bosschere et al. 2001). The resulting lesions of pyometra are due to the interaction between bacteria and hormones. The aim of this study was to evaluate if transabdominal uterine ultrasonography can be a useful and reliable diagnostic method to confirm Dow's [Veterinary Record (1958) 70, 1102] and De Bosschere's histopathological classification of CEH-pyometra complex. The study was carried out on 45 bitches with pyometra, 10 purebreds and 35 crossbreeds, 1-15 years old, 20% of which had whelped at least once. None of these animals had received exogenous oestrogen or progesterone treatment. On admission the 45 animals were in the luteal phase of the oestrus cycle. Clinical signs, blood parameters, uterine ultrasonography, bacterial swabs and uterine histopathological results were recorded. Results suggest that ultrasonographic examination is a useful and reliable tool for the diagnosis of cystic endometrial hyperplasia.