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Vaginitis in Dogs

By: Dr. Bari Spielman

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Vaginitis is the term used to describe inflammation of the vagina. It is more common in dogs than in cats and is often seen in dogs less than one year of age. Vaginitis often resolves after the first estrous cycle.

The cause is often nonspecific but can include:

  • Prepubertal (immature or before puberty) vaginitis (often occurs before the dog is one year of age)
  • Foreign body within the vaginal cavity
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Urine or fecal contamination in a patient with a vaginal congenital abnormality (present at birth)
  • Infections (bacterial, viral)
  • Vaginal neoplasia (cancer)

    What to Watch For

  • Discharge from the vulva
  • Licking of the vulvar area
  • Spotting
  • Frequent urination
  • Scooting
  • Attracting males

    Diagnosis

    Diagnosis often includes trying to exclude other potential causes of the symptoms. Tests may include:

  • Complete blood count and biochemical profile are usually within normal limits
  • Urinalysis may show inflammation
  • Digital vaginal examination
  • Vaginal culture
  • Vaginal cytology (cells obtained from the vagina)
  • Vaginoscopy (directly visualizing the vagina through a scope)

    Treatment

  • Prepubertal vaginitis usually resolves after the first estrus (heat) and no therapy is needed
  • Remove or treat underlying causes, such as a foreign body or neoplasia
  • Appropriate antibiotic therapy
  • Vaginal douches

    Home Care and Prevention

    Administer prescribed medication or therapy by your veterinarian. If condition persists, contact your veterinarian for additional diagnostics or recommendations.

    Vaginitis is often very difficult to prevent; however, keeping the hair around the vulva short and clean may be of benefit in some cases.

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