You Make The Diagnosis: Abnormal Vulva in a Dog

Pictured below is the vulva of a dog that is abnormal. Instead of being aligned vertically, this dog’s vulva is tilted to the left side of the picture.  In addition, it is deeply set and the lips roll inward. What two conditions are dogs with this type of confirmation prone to developing?  Please note the skin surrounding the vulva.

DX: Urinary Tract Infections & Perivulvar Dermatitis

Dogs who have this type of confirmation will have trouble passing urine. The main stream will be directed to the left, coating the inner surface of the dog’s leg when she urinates. Some urine will also be trapped inside the vagina, a condition referred to as ‘urine pooling’. The stagnant urine scalds the mucosa of the vagina and often causes a vaginal infection. The contaminated urine may also flow backward into the bladder causing an infection. It is a very uncomfortable problem!

Beside urinary tract infections, these dogs are prone to perivulvar dermatitis which means a skin infection around the vulva. Moisture is trapped in the skin folds around the vulva. The moisture combined with warmth makes it a great place for bacteria and yeast to grow. The dog will lick to relieve the itch which inadvertently makes the condition even worse because the licking keeps the area moist and traumatizes the skin.

Medical management for this condition includes antibiotics and antifungals to control the infection as well as daily cleansing of the area. Surgery is recommended for severe cases. During a ‘vulvoplasty’, excessive skin is removed to make the vulva more prominent.

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.