What is Vaginoscopy?

Vaginoscopy is a procedure used in dogs for diagnostic purposes. It concerns the use of a scope to visualize the vaginal canal of female dogs. There can be a number of aims of the treatment, from diagnosis of disease to revealing insights into the fertility of the dog. It is a relatively common procedure and will usually be performed by a vet. The timing of its use varies on the reason for the treatment. It can be used as a primary measure for detection, or later on in a condition to review the vaginal canal, which may then require further treatment. 

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Vaginoscopy Procedure in Dogs

In regards to preparatory steps, an initial visit to the vets regarding the associated problem will be required. The vet will then ask for the dog to return within a few days or weeks to have a vaginoscopy, depending on the purpose of the treatment and the condition it’s related to. The procedure itself will go as follows:

  • The dog will be anesthetized intravenously. 
  • A variety of positions could be used, but dorsal recumbency is frequently used to minimize fecal contamination. 
  • The perineum is cleansed and excessive hair clipped.
  • The lubricated instrument is inserted at a craniodorsal angle to avoid the clitoral fossa until the vestibule and vagina can be visualised. 
  • The areas that need to be investigated are then analyzed. 

The whole procedure will taken between five and 20 minutes.

Efficacy of Vaginoscopy in Dogs

Vaginoscopy is almost always effective in its goal to visualise the vaginal canal and allow for analysis and then diagnosis. It is a simple procedure, giving the vet access to the vaginal canal, so it is usually successful when the aim is to take a sample from the canal too. It is a short procedure which leaves the dog with no permanent adverse effects. 

There is the option to have a digital vaginal palpation. This allows the vet to see changes in texture of the vaginal mucosa. It also reveals vaginal strictures. However, it is not as revealing or detailed as a vaginoscopy and does not allow for extraction of samples from the vaginal canal. 

Vaginoscopy Recovery in Dogs

The dog will be fully recovered very soon after a vaginoscopy. The dog may need up to a few days to recover from a general anesthetic. Any soreness should also dissipate within a few days. It is a straightforward procedure, ensuring most dogs will require minimal recovery time. 

A follow-up appointment will be necessary to discuss results and observations. This visit will likely take place within a week or two. Whether any more appointments or treatment is required will be dependant on the individual case and the condition the dog is suffering from. The dog will not require ongoing maintenance as a result of the vaginoscopy itself.

Cost of Vaginoscopy in Dogs

There are a number of costs associated with a vaginoscopy. The initial consultation fee could cost between $50 and $100. A general anesthetic can cost anywhere between $60 and $150 depending on the size of the dog. The vaginoscopy itself is likely to cost between $125 and $200. The price will vary depending on the experience of the vet and the individual case.

The alternative, to have a digital vaginal palpation could cost slightly less. Appointment fees are still needed, but the digital palpation is likely to cost less than $150. However, it is not as an informative as a vaginoscopy. For the most effective results to make an informed decision on the next treatment steps, a vaginoscopy is the more accurate option.

Dog Vaginoscopy Considerations

Due to the straightforward nature of the procedure and short time it takes, vaginoscopy comes with few risks. There is always a risk from anesthetics that should be considered. The dog could be allergic to the anesthetic or suffer other adverse effects. There is a very minor risk the vet makes a mistake when inserting the instrument, which could cause pain or a wound, but this is extremely unlikely. There is not a potential for relapse with a vaginoscopy to be concerned about, as it is used primarily for diagnostic purposes and does not attempt to cure any disease. Owners do not have to worry about short or long term implications, it is a relatively risk-free procedure.  

Vaginoscopy Prevention in Dogs

As vaginoscopy is commonly used to diagnose vaginal diseases, it is worth employing certain preventative measures to minimize their chances of developing. Ensuring dogs are kept relatively clean with baths regularly will help. This will also reduce the risk of owners catching diseases from dogs that are  harbouring harmful bacteria. If the dog has diarrhea or urinary infections, keeping the dogs bed and areas they lay on clean, will help to stop the infection reoccuring. 

Keeping a dog’s immune system strong is another effective way to minimize the chances of infection. Giving dogs a balanced diet will bolster the dog's internal ability to fight off infections. Giving the dog regular exercise will also keep them fit, healthy, and in the best shape to prevent infections developing. Regular exercise will also be beneficial for owners’ health. 

Vaginoscopy is also often used when dogs are suffering with infertility problems. There are a number of different things that can cause infertility. However, there are a number of things owners can do to prevent infertility. The first thing to prevent is inbreeding. Exposure to household toxins should be kept to a minimum, including toxins used in gardens. All serious chemicals can have a negative impact on a dog's fertility. This is also a good measure to take for the owner’s health. Excessive medication and drugs for dogs should also be avoided. Too much strong medication can affect a dog's fertility.