Vaginitis is the the inflammation of the vagina. There are 2 types of vaginitis, juvenile and adult. Juvenile vaginitis occurs before the female matures and becomes fertile. Spayed females are more prone to adult vaginitis.
There are a number of causes of vaginitis – a urinary tract infection (UTI), incontinence when small amounts of urine remain and irritate the vaginal mucous membranes, bacterial or viral infections, yeast infections, a sensitivity or allergic reaction to shampoos or other agents. When the dog licks herself after defecating, she can contaminate the area due to the anus and vagina being close to one another. Your veterinarian will also check for trauma to the area, tumors, foreign bodies or if the dog is taking steriods or has zinc poisoning.
Diagnosis is made through blood tests, urinalysis, cultures of any vaginal discharge and vaginal cells, a vaginoscopy to check for any irregularities. An ultrasound or x-ray may be performed.
Juvenile vaginitis usually resolves itself when the dog goes into her first heat and may not require treatment. For adult vaginitis, the appropriate antibiotic must be prescribed to avoid yeast or other bacteria from forming. Depending on the cause of vaginitis, other treatments will be recommended.
If vaginitis is chronic, your vet will perform a test to check immune function.
Probiotics added to the diet can help keep bacteria in check.