Unfortunately, some female dogs develop "leaking" issues along with other complications due to a condition called hypoplastic vulva. This simply means that a skin fold covers the vulva, leading to an accumulation of urine, which may actually cause your poor pooch to leak. While your dog should be okay with this condition, there's a lot for you to learn about it and a few things you'll need to take care of.
The Symptoms Of Hypoplastic Vulva
Having a fold over the vulva may mean your dog exhibits a number of symptoms, or if you're lucky, very few. This situation is most apt to show up after your dog has been spayed, particularly if she was spayed early. Watch for the following symptoms, keeping note of them, to report to your vet:
- Peeing around the home, even after you've just brought the dog outside.
- Frequent licking and other signs of agitation.
- A red and/or swollen vulva (which is the area around her vagina).
- A foul odor emanating from the area.
- Persistent issues with UTIs, or urinary tract infections.
Handling The "Leaking" Around Your Home
Having a dog that pees in the home is frustrating, but since your pooch can't help it with this condition, you need extra patience. The fold of skin is covering her urethra, the tube from which urine flows, so your dog has absolutely no power to avoid accidents under these circumstances. Until the vulva fold can be remedied at the pet hospital, you'll have a few additional items on your "to-do" list:
- Place pee-pads near where your dog spends most of her time (the pads should be temporary).
- Take your girl outside to relieve herself more often and allow her extra time to piddle.
- When she "goes" outside, congratulate her with enthusiasm.
- If she tinkles indoors, try not to express anger, since this is not a behavioral issue.
- Try natural odor removers around the house to save your sanity and keep the home pleasant.
How Your Veterinarian Will Confirm The Condition
As soon as you suspect something is wrong with your girl, make an appointment for her to be examined. This condition is not uncommon and the prognosis is very good, so don't allow your anxiousness to get the better of you. Once on the table, you and your dog can expect the following:
- A thorough physical examination, which may not be comfortable, but shouldn't hurt.
- Samples taken for cultural (bacterial) analysis and urinalysis.
- An ultrasound will likely be conducted to get a more complete picture of the affected areas.
The sooner hypoplastic vulva is treated, the better. This is true for your dog, or course, but also for you. Until she's better, the both of you may have a lot of circumstances to contend with, in addition to your normal lives.
The Treatment Involved
Treatment for vulvar fold dermatitis is fairly straightforward, although a number of outcomes may occur, depending on the individual conditions of your dog:
- The area will be medically cleaned, dried, and treated.
- Antibiotics will likely be issued, possibly one for the external skin condition and one for internal infection.
- Surgery is needed in many such cases and involves removing the excess skin covering your dog's vulva.
How You Can Help Your Dog Recover At Home
This is probably going to feel like a big deal to both you and your dog, so if possible, schedule yourself (or someone else in the house) a day off to be with her when she comes home from surgery. Your dog will need to remain somewhat calm and avoid strenuous activity for at least a week or two, depending on how the surgery went. She also may need a cold pack applied to the surgical area along with topical remedies to help her heal and minimize infection. Since she'll have stitches, your pooch will be wearing the cone (Elizabethan collar) until they come out.
Although having hypoplastic vulva is tedious and frustrating for you and seriously uncomfortable for your dog, getting through it together shouldn't be too much of a problem. Pay attention to the little details so you can avoid infections, torn stitches, and other complications, and before long, the two of you should be able to resume a normal and active routine.