Updated: Feb 29, 2020
Common sense disclaimer: It’s critical to seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian, preferably one that is board certified in theriogenology (reproductive science) for reproductive matters. This website, its blog, its courses, and other information presented are neither designed nor intended to replace the need for a qualified veterinarian, but instead to help educate people to to work optimally with their veterinarians. All recommendations should be reviewed with qualified professionals, such as a board certified reproductive veterinarian, prior to implementation in a breeding program. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian. Readers assume all risks associated with use of material on this site. More here.
Female puppies can exhibit a clear or creamy vaginal discharge or have sticky or dirty hair around their vulva. You may notice them licking excessively. This is often caused by puppy vaginitis. The prevention for puppy vaginitis is similar to prevention of UTIs: keep the hair trimmed, wash the genital area with an antibacterial wipe once or twice a day.
Puppy vaginitis usually goes away during her first heat cycle. Puppy vaginitis is usually self-limiting, but if she develops a fever or her behavior changes or it lasts beyond her first heat, you will need to see your vet who will likely prescribe antibiotics. Again, the vast majority of puppy vaginitis will go away with her first heat cycle.
Puppies with inverted vulvas are more prone to puppy vaginitis. We recommend the same approach for inverted vulvas as for puppy vaginitis: Puppy vaginitis usually goes away during her first or second heat cycle and we recommend waiting for the first or second heat cycle before considering surgery. There are vets out there who will want to perform surgery on dogs with inverted vulvas before their second heat or at spay. We recommend that both surgery for an inverted vulva as well as spay be delayed for one, preferably two, heat cycles prior to surgically correcting an inverted vulva, as it's always preferable to see if conditions such as this self resolve (which they often do), rather than resort to surgery that may end up being unnecessary. Of course, this this is a general comment and your final decision should be made in consultation with a trusted veterinarian.
We provide our puppy families with buyer education that includes information about puppy vaginitis so that they know how to recognize and prevent them and also to help allay some of the fears and panic that puppy parents can have when their little ball of joy has a veterinary situation. We will be making our buyer education package available to breeders at a very affordable cost at a later date so that you can help educate your buyers.
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