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What is Hypoplastic (Recessed) Vulva?

All female dogs can be at risk of having a hypoplastic vulva, medium to giant sized dog breeds have been shown to be at a higher risk.  Breeds that tend to suffer from inflammatory skin diseases are also at a higher risk of developing hypoplastic vulvas. 

A hypoplastic or recessed vulva in dogs is when the female has large skin folds that are covering the vulva. This condition makes female dogs highly prone to perivulvar dermatitis and urinary tract infections. This condition may be not noticeable to pet owners, but will need to be checked and treated by a veterinarian.

Hypoplastic (Recessed) Vulva Average Cost

From 491 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,500

Average Cost

$600

Symptoms of Hypoplastic (Recessed) Vulva in Dogs

If you notice your dog exhibiting any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian and schedule an appointment for a thorough examination.

  • Scooting across floors 
  • Excessive licking of the vulva
  • Foul odor from the vulva
  • Frequently urinating
  • Blood in the urine
  • Red, irritated skin on or around the vulva
  • Recurring urinary tract infections
  • Incontinence

Your veterinarian will need to know what symptoms your dog has been exhibiting and if any environmental changes have occurred. This will help your veterinarian make a complete diagnosis and plan an appropriate treatment plan.

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Causes of Hypoplastic (Recessed) Vulva in Dogs

Genetics can play a role in dogs with hypoplastic vulvas. Breeds more prone to allergic skin diseases or inflammatory skin diseases are at a higher risk of suffering from severe skin infections associated with hypoplastic vulva. 

Weight is another contributing factor. Female dogs that maintain a normal, healthy body weight will be less likely to have a severe case of hypoplastic vulva. If your dog is more prone to being obese, the severity of the hypoplastic vulva will increase. Giant breeds, in particular, need to be kept on the leaner side if they have already been diagnosed with hypoplastic vulva.

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Diagnosis of Hypoplastic (Recessed) Vulva in Dogs

Your veterinarian will do an initial physical examination and then will run various tests to diagnose hypoplastic vulva in your dog. A physical examination will allow your veterinarian to rule out other possibilities while confirming that the vulva is recessed under a fold of skin and is not visible upon a cursory examination. 

Your veterinarian will order several tests to ensure that a proper diagnosis has been made and determine the severity of the condition.

  • Complete blood analysis
  • Urinalysis
  • Urine culture 
  • Ultrasound of the bladder

Once your veterinarian has determined the severity of the hypoplastic vulva, a treatment plan will be put in place.

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Treatment of Hypoplastic (Recessed) Vulva in Dogs

Treatment options will vary depending on the severity of the hypoplastic vulva. One or more treatment options may be used to alleviate symptoms and correct the recessed vulva. While surgical treatment is the only option to remove the excessive folds around the vulva, medications can be used to relieve symptoms and treat UTIs.

Topical Antibiotics

Vulvar fold dermatitis is often treated with a topical antibiotic or drying agent to provide relief of any itching or burning sensation that your dog is experiencing.

Oral Antibiotics

Inflamed tissue on or around the vulva can be treated with an oral antibiotic and anti-inflammatory medication. This will treat the symptoms but will not cure a hypoplastic vulva.

Episioplasty

Surgical treatment, called episioplasty, is a reconstructive surgery that will remove the extra folds of skin around the vulva. A crescent shaped incision is made around the vulva and the excess skin is removed.

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Recovery of Hypoplastic (Recessed) Vulva in Dogs

The recovery time will vary depending upon the severity of the hypoplastic vulva. Each surgery will be different depending on the size and location of the extra folds, and the number of sutures will also vary. Activity should be restricted for the first two weeks following surgery and sutures will be removed 10-14 days following surgery, depending on how well the wound is healing. 

Always follow your veterinarian’s treatment plan as directed. All medications should be used as prescribed. Complete the required follow-up visits to ensure that your dog is healing properly.

Following episioplasty surgery, your dog’s prognosis should be excellent. Problems can arise if an inadequate amount of skin was removed; this can cause persistent perivulvar dermatitis or rupture of the wound due to tension.

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Hypoplastic (Recessed) Vulva Average Cost

From 491 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,500

Average Cost

$600

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Hypoplastic (Recessed) Vulva Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Rottweiler

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6 months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Frequent Urination

Our Rott is 6 mos old & been on 5 consecutive 2 week courses of antibiotics for UTIs. She was diagnosed with recessed vulva which COULD resolve after her 1st heat. BUT she may not go into heat until 12+ mo's & we don't want to keep her on antibiotics that long. Also told issues MIGHT resolve once she's spayed & she COULD have ectopic ureter. What are dangers of dog being on antibiotics too long? At what age is it safe to have her spayed w/out danger to her health later? NOTE: She no longer has incontinence/leaking. Only recurrent frequent urination w/in 2-3 days off antibiotic. Thoughts?

Sept. 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I understand what you are describing, but I think I might have a second opinion at this point. One thing that can help in dogs with recessed vulvas is to use an antibacterial wipe around the area after urinating or defecating, and keep that area really clean. Some dogs do outgrow that problem, so it does make sense to wait a little bit to spay her until she is bigger, but I agree, I would not want her on continual antibiotics as a puppy. I hope that everything goes well for her.

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Labrador Retriever

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Six Weeks

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Recessed Vulva

we are looking at a puppy who possibly has RV we where wondering if she will be able to have a litter still or is this not possible please email only thanks

Aug. 7, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. It is difficult to diagnose a recessed vulva in a 6 week old puppy, I think. She is very young, and a lot of growing is yet to happen. If she does have this problem, it can make her prone to infections, and while she would be able to breed, it may be difficult, depending on the degree of recession. I hope that all goes well for her.

Aug. 8, 2020

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Australian Shepherd

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Six months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Painful Urination

Our 6 month old pup was diagnosed with her first UTI and we were told she has a recessed vulva. She is not spayed yet but we were planning on having her spayed soon. Due to the recessed vulva should we wait to have her spayed?

July 24, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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Hello I would recommend having her spayed soon, regardless of the recessed vulva. If she is not spayed, she could develop a uterine infection or get pregnant.

July 24, 2020

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Deeohgee

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GSD

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8 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Constantly Dirty Around Vulva
Urine Smell On Occasion.

My dog has a recessed vulva and is constantly dirty (black, greasy filth) around her vulva and up her belly. NOTHING I have tried will remove that dirt or help keep her clean. Shampoos, baby oil, nothing. Not even using baby wipes after she pees. What can I use to clean her up that won’t irritate the area?

June 2, 2018

Deeohgee's Owner

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If Deeohgee has a recessed vulva, you should consider having surgical correction done which may help with many related issues; however in cases where I’ve needed to clean engine oil off of animals in the past (including dogs), Swarfega hand cleaner works really well. Some animals may be a little sensitive to Swarfega, but it is normally the toy breed dogs I’ve seen trouble with. Once you’ve rinsed off the Swarfega, ensure that you bath the area again with a regular dog shampoo. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 3, 2018

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Gypsy

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German Shepherd

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8 Years

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Fair severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Raw Vaginal Area
Smelly Discharge And Odor

My 8 yr old female GSD is having constant UTIs, and is being treated now for a resessed vulva, taking 200 mg of cefpodoxime once every 24 hrs. She's been taking this for 7 days with another 7 to go. The symptoms haven't seemed to improve much, if any. She still has rawness around her vaginal opening and somewhat of an odor, that has decreased only slightly. Could this be the result of getting her spayed to early in life. And before ever going into her 1st heat? Im surprised my vet, at the time didn't explain this to me. Anyhow, at this point, if the next 7 days of medication doesn't show a drastic improvement....is surgery my only other option? She was prescribed a different medication last time she had a UTI flare up and she had been doing great for about 2 yrs. I just don't recall what the meds were now. Thank you for any information you can offer.

April 24, 2018

Gypsy's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Early spaying predisposes a dog to this condition (although some sources contradict this); however it would be in Gypsy’s best interest to have the surgery to help prevent any future urinary tract infections. See how this round of treatment goes, but I would recommend surgery regardless. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

April 24, 2018

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Chloie

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Golden Retriever

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14 Weeks

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Fair severity

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1 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Incontinence
Incontience Drippling

My Golden is 14 weeks old, she has been tx for UTI x2 with different antibiotics, My husband is a urologist therefore I have taken urine samples in for him to look at, the urine always shows red and white cells and Chrystals on occasion. We have cultured her urine with it coming back negative, she in the last 10 days has started having incontinent episodes in her sleep never in her create, episodes a couple times just out of the blue, she dripples frequently I am flustered my vet really has no idea.

Hypoplastic (Recessed) Vulva Average Cost

From 491 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,500

Average Cost

$600

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