Overview of Canine Vaginal Prolapse
Vaginal prolapse is the protrusion of edematous (swollen) vaginal tissue into and through the opening of the vulva, which is the external female genital organ, occurring during certain stages of the estrus (heat) cycle. The entire circumference of the vaginal wall protrudes, giving the exposed tissue a donut-shaped appearance.
Vaginal prolapse is most common in young, intact female dogs. Breeds most commonly affected include the Labrador and Chesapeake Bay retriever, boxer, English bulldog, mastiff, German shepherd dog, St. Bernard, Airedale terrier, Springer spaniel, Walker hounds, and Weimaraner.
The primary cause of vaginal prolapse is estrogen stimulation. Vaginal prolapse almost always is diagnosed when the bitch is in or has recently progressed through proestrus (just before heat) or estrus (heat). Other causes include:
What to Watch For
Symptoms of Vaginal Prolapse in Dogs may include:
Diagnosis of Vaginal Prolapse in Dogs
Treatment of Vaginal Prolapse in Dogs
Management of vaginal prolapse can be difficult. If the dog can urinate, treatment is generally not an emergency, and outpatient care is recommended. If there is blockage due to the mass, immediate hospitalization and intervention is necessary. Given enough time, most cases of vaginal prolapse are reversible, as certain periods of the estrus cycle allow for it to resolve. Treatment may include:
Home Care and Prevention
Many vaginal prolapses are initially treated at home following veterinary examination and testing. Home care may include:
Despite treatment, two out of three affected dogs have a recurrence at the time of the next estrus. Ovariohysterectomy (spay) prevents recurrence and may hasten resolution.