Vaginal Prolapse in Dogs

Vaginal prolapse dogs occurs when the tissue of the vaginal wall protrudes abnormally through the vaginal opening. This condition is most common in young female dogs who have not yet been spayed. Canine vaginal prolapse usually occurs right before or during the dog's heat cycle, and some breeds are more prone to it than others. Read on to learn more. 

Causes of Canine Vaginal Prolapse

Vaginal prolapse in dogs is a condition in which the tissue of the internal vaginal walls swells and protrudes through the vulva, or vaginal opening. Often, the entire vagina protrudes through the vulva. The prolapsed organ may look like a donut.

Some breeds may be more prone to vaginal prolapse than others. These breeds can include:

  • Boxer
  • Mastiff
  • German Shepherd
  • Weimaraner
  • Labrador Retriever
  • St. Bernard
  • Airedale Terrier
  • English Bulldog
  • Springer Spaniel
  • Walker Hound

Genetics isn't the only factor that can influence the development of canine vaginal prolapse. Vaginal hyperplasia, a condition which can cause inflammation of the vaginal wall, may lead to vaginal prolapse. Difficult urination and constipation can cause excessive straining that contributes to the condition. Dogs who experience a difficult labor may be more likely to suffer vaginal prolapse.

Interrupting a pair of dogs while they are mating can contribute to vaginal prolapse, if the male dog is forced to remove himself from the female before mating is complete.

Dogs who develop this condition usually haven't been spayed, and are usually young. Vets have linked vaginal prolapse to elevated estrogen levels in the dog's body, because the condition is most likely to occur right before the dog enters her heat cycle, or during the heat cycle itself. 

Symptoms of Canine Vaginal Prolapse

The most obvious sign of vaginal prolapse in a dog is the protrusion of tissue from the vaginal opening. This tissue will appear pink and inflamed. The dog may resist mating, even as she approaches or ensures her heat cycle. Dogs suffering vaginal prolapse may experience pain and discomfort with urination, and may lick frequently at the genital area.

Treating Vaginal Prolapse in Dogs

Unless your dog's vaginal prolapse is blocking her urethra so that she can't urinate, then her condition isn't considered a medical emergency. Dogs who can no longer urinate may need to be hospitalized and undergo surgery to remove the blockage. Your vet might insert a urinary catheter. If any of your dog's vaginal tissue is dead or damaged, it will need to be surgically removed. 

If your dog can still urinate and hasn't suffered vaginal tissue damage, your vet might administer hormone therapy to speed up the heat cycle and help the vaginal prolapse correct itself. Topical creams can be applied to the prolapsed tissue to reduce swelling and help it return to its normal position. Most of the time, vaginal prolapse can be reversed.

While your dog is recovering from vaginal prolapse, you'll need to keep the prolapsed tissue clean and dry. Your vet will give you moisturizing ointments to apply to the tissue, which can help prevent tissue damage. You'll also need to make sure your dog's prolapsed vaginal tissue doesn't come into contact with any rough or abrasive surfaces, since this could damage it. A diaper can help protect your dog's prolapsed tissue from abrasive surfaces, and an Elizabethan collar can stop your dog from licking, chewing or biting it.