Vaginitis in Dogs

Canine vaginitis is an infection of the vagina and affects mature female dogs. The infection may be caused by a vaginal problem or may be a secondary condition accompanying an underlying disease.

Causes of Vaginitis in Canines

Vaginitis in dogs may be caused by the bacteria that gather in the dog’s urine. These may destroy the mucosa of the vagina. If the urine causes the infection, this may indicate that there is an internal problem that causes the alteration of the composition of the urine.

Common causes of vaginitis may include:

  • Cystitis or bladder infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Extended treatment with antibiotics, which facilitate the occurrence of yeast infections
  • Side effects of certain drugs, that disturb the normal cell balance in the vagina
  • The herpes virus, which can lead to a chronic disease and the infection of the vagina will get infected on a regular basis
  • Cleaning agents that are used to clean the area and cause irritation
  • Vulvar fold abnormalities
  • Trauma

The infection may also be transferred from the anus; if the dog has bacteria, yeasts or other viruses that are present in the dog’s feces. If the dog cleans herself after defecation, these infectious agents can easily be transferred from the rectum to the vagina causing vaginitis.

Young dogs under the age of 1 may develop juvenile vaginitis and the condition is considered idiopathic.

Symptoms of Dog Vaginitis

Vaginitis may manifest through a few symptoms that can be easily spotted:

  • The inflammation of the vulva, which is the exterior part of the female dog reproductive area
  • Changes in the color of the urine, which may sometimes contain blood
  • Vaginal discharges, which may have various consistencies and colors, depending on the cause of the infection
  • Straining to urinate

These symptoms may point to cystitis or a urinary tract infection, so a thorough examination is called for.

Diagnosing Vaginitis in Dogs

The vet will examine the dog and will get a urine sample. If the dog has a vaginal discharge, this will have to be analyzed as well. The vet will establish if the condition is indeed vaginitis and detect the possible cause.

Dog Vaginitis Treatment Options

The treatment of vaginitis will be made up of 2 main components:

  • Oral medication, which typically includes antibiotics to eliminate the viruses or bacteria. Antifungal medication can also be prescribed, if the dog has a fungal infection
  • Topical creams, which will reduce the swelling and will make the dog more comfortable. The creams may contain antibiotics or fungicides, but may also contain steroids or other soothing agents.

If the dog has an underlying condition that causes the vaginal infection, this will have to be treated. The vet will also recommend changing the shampoos or soaps you use when you bathe the dog, as these can be an irritating factor that will intensify the swelling. Instead, oatmeal shampoos and rinses will be recommended, as these will have a soothing effect.