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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Vaginal Infection (Vaginitis)




Condition Overview

Vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina. It is not necessarily accompanied by an infection. Vaginitis can ascend into the uterus or bladder, causing endometritis or, more commonly, a urinary tract infection. Juvenile vaginitis is seen in puppies less than 1 year of age.


Signs of vaginitis are licking at the vulva and staining of the hair around the vulva. A vaginal discharge may not be visible if the dog keeps herself clean. Vaginal examination is painful and may require sedation. Male dogs are sometimes attracted to females with vaginitis. This can give the impression that the female is in heat.


Adult vaginitis is usually caused by an anatomic abnormality of the vagina that results in urine pooling in the vaginal canal. Viral vaginitis is caused by the herpesvirus, which is transmitted during breeding. Mycoplasma vaginitis may result from an overgrowth of mycoplasma organisms, which are normally present in the vagina in small numbers.


Diagnosis is confirmed by speculum examination of the interior of the vagina. Cultures and cytology are obtained. There are normally bacteria present in the vagina - a culture looks for overgrowth of a particular bacteria. A urinalysis is taken to rule out an associated urinary tract infection.


Bacterial vaginitis is easier to clear up if an underlying cause can be identified and removed. In the absence of an underlying cause, treatment involves oral antibiotics selected based on culture and sensitivity tests, along with an initial Betadine or chlorhexidine lavage to remove the accumulated discharge.

Dogs with bacterial vaginitis should not be bred until the infection has been eliminated. There is no effective treatment for herpesvirus vaginitis, but most dogs develop antibodies against the virus.

Mycoplasma cultured from vaginitis may be normal flora or the results of an infection. If other signs such as infertility, indicate an infection, treatment usually involves antibiotics such as the tetracyclines.

Juvenile vaginitis does not require treatment other that to keep the vulva clean to prevent skin inflammation caused by excessive licking. Most cases disappear when the female enters her first heat cycle. Spaying should be postponed until after that time.


There is no prevention for this condition.


Please contact your veterinarian with questions regarding this condition.

Show Sources & Contributors +


Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook

Publisher: Wiley Publishing, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Authors: Debra M. Eldredge, Liisa D. Carlson, Delbert G. Carlson, James M. Giffen MD

1 Comment For "Vaginal Infection"



Vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina, It can result in discharge, itching and pain, and is often associated with an irritation or infection of the vulva. It is usually due to infection. The three main kinds of vaginitis are bacterial vaginosis (BV), vaginal candidiasis, and trichomoniasis A woman may have any combination of vaginal infections at one time.
Vaginal Speculum

July 13, 2012 at 7:37AM  Sign In or Join to Comment