Hi all, my dog currently has a mild vaginitis issue as I noticed she was having a discharge. I don’t know the direct cause of this although she does have a recessed vulva. However, she is 9 years and never had this before and now has had it twice in the past 3 – 4 months. The first time, I took her to the vet and they just seemed to brush it off and told me to clean the area fairly often with baby wipes. The second time, I went to a different vet and they gave her some antibiotics. This vet mentioned that a food change could cause this. Has anyone ever had a similar issue and suspected it was from the food? I did change her food about 3 – 4 months ago to Acana Duck and Pear. The first time I noticed the issue was actually before the food switch, but I did have some Orijen (same parent company) duck treats that I was giving her at the time. Thanks for your help.
Is this the dog you posted about before? The one with allergies?
“She is a very allergic dog”
If so, the same advice applies. I would see a specialist. Her problems could be related to her environmental allergies (or some other medical issue) and have nothing to do with the food.
It is. So can environmental allergies cause this issue? She used to be on Atopica and I’ve taken her off of it. So far, she’s been doing pretty good. Still a little itchy, but not near as bad as she was before going on Atopica.
Allergies usually require lifelong treatment. They don’t just go away. From what I know and have read, environmental allergies could cause the symptoms you describe. The same way they can cause inflammation, pruritus, ear infections, etc.
I did the same thing with my dog with allergies, she was doing so well that I was able to decrease her allergy treatments. She was fine for a few months but recently had a flare-up. So, we are back to the beginning. Luckily she responds to immunotherapy and is doing well. We only see the specialist once a year, otherwise, he returns phone calls.
PS: Lesson learned, going forward I will be more cautious about making changes in any regimen that is working for her.
- This reply was modified 4 years, 12 months ago by anonymously.
I tried immunotherapy a few years ago and she never responded favorably. The allery testing was a blood test so I don’t know that was even reliable results. I’m trying to avoid putting her back on the Atopica, but may have to.
I never had any blood tests (to identify allergies) done on my dog, just the skin testing by a dermatologist.
The best choice would be to see a board-certified veterinary dermatologist, if one is available near you (here is a list: http://www.acvd.org/).
Most dermatologists will not skin test for allergies until the dog has been exhibiting symptoms for 1 year/4 seasons without any significant periods of relief. There are also other treatment options that a specialist could offer.
Don’t be fooled by mail-in saliva and hair tests, I have heard they are unreliable
A summary of treatments for canine atopy:
And here is a recent update:
More info here:
Skin tests to determine what your pet might be allergic to are considerably more accurate, on the whole, than blood tests. However, they are not 100% accurate either. To have them performed, you will need to locate a board certified veterinary dermatologist
excerpt below from: http://www.2ndchance.info/Apoquel.htm
Food Allergies are probably over-diagnosed in dogs (they account for, perhaps 5-10%). Hypoallergenic diets are occasionally, but not frequently, helpful in canine atopy cases but you should always give them a try. Food intolerances are more common – but considerably more likely to result in digestive disturbances and diarrhea than in itching problems.
PS: A lot depends on the expertise of the specialist to get the solution right, regarding allergen specific immunotherapy. Even when it is effective, sometimes the solution has to be tweaked from time to time. And it can take a year or so to see dramatic results. In my dog’s case I saw improvement right away, however, they still have flare-ups…DogFoodieMember
I have a Cavalier that has had vaginitis, the result of a recessed vulva as well. She doesn’t have any allergies or food sensitivities at all. I’m lucky with her – she’s my easy dog. Her infection was treated with antibiotics and Mal-A-Ket wipes.
Did your vet first rule out a bladder infection or urinary crystals?
Hello, they didn’t do any kind of testing, just prescribed antibiotics. She did have a complete blood count and urinalysis done about 3 weeks ago and everything was ok with the exception of the ALP being a little elevated. Of course, this was a little before I noticed the problem, but it was after she had the same problem the first time.
Do you mean AST? I think you may be referring to one of the LFTs (liver function tests)
Anyway, that is why I like allergen specific immunotherapy, it’s all natural, in fact, it is not medication.
Medications and supplements have to be detoxed by the liver, that can result in elevations.
PS: A slight elevation (temporary) could have been caused by the antibiotics or atopica.
- This reply was modified 4 years, 12 months ago by anonymously.
It’s the Alkaline Phosphate enzyme that I’m referring to. I’ve looked into doing the allergy testing before; I might again.
Yes, that is one of the liver function tests (alk phos)
Sometimes there are slight anomalies with various lab values as a dog ages, for example, my senior has a slight anemia. It’s age related, nothing to worry about.
Best to ask the vet for more information.DoriMember
Sorry Kevin R., but I have not taken the time to read the posts and find out what type of dog you have. If your dog is a toy breed or a breed that is low to the ground, sometimes vaginitis is due to their size and breed. When peeing, their vagina touches the ground and is subject to the bacteria in that area. I’ve dealt with it in the past with toy breeds. Having toy breeds and that are short legged one has to wipe them each and every single time they come in from potty breaks. I have found that though it is more time consuming, a warm wrung out face cloth is much more effective in this area than non scented hypoallergenic baby wipe type products. You do have to do it every single time.
Hi Dori, thanks for the advice. I have a Westie. She’s not that close to the ground, but I wondered about this as well. Being a Westie, she has her share of allergies and it sounds like this could be the cause. I don’t know though. I may try the washcloth like you mentioned. I’ve been using the baby wipes, but like you say, they don’t appear to be as effective as one would like. Thanks again.
On another note, does anyone else have any other opinions on the intradermal allergy testing? Anyone currently doing immunotherapy and having success? Thanks.
Plenty of stories here. It is the cost of initial testing that deters people, but I have no regrets. There is the maintenance (the solution) but it’s cheaper than going back and forth to the regular vet (imo) and the dog is comfortable.DoriMember
Kevin R. One of my girls, a Maltipoo, was riddled with food intolerances, sensitive and allergies and also environmental issues. Her dermatologist/allergist here in Atlanta, Ga. at Blue Pearl Georgia Veterinary Specialists suggested that I not do that particular testing nor the skin testing and shots. He told me it would be a very long process and the duration of the injections would probably be long term as she was such a mess. He advised me that the very best way to deal with her situation was to attempt to either do an illumination diet or try to figure out and eliminate ingredients in her diet and also to remove all, or as many, toxins in the home environment. I no longer burn candles, no air freshener sprays, no plug ins. I switched to natural type cleaners. Never ever any type of carpet freshening powders that are then vacuumed up. Hardwood floors are cleaned with a solution of vinegar and water. I also wipe her paws (all three dogs actually) when she comes in from out in the yard. I switched to a landscaping company that only uses organic products. I removed all the lawn in our patio/back area where they play and potty to stone, gravel and flower gardens….annuals and perennials. Just early on this year I had two types of testing done solely out of curiosity on my part because I had spent years “fixing” her issues to see what they would come up with. I did the Nutriscan Saliva test by Dr. Jean Dodds first and I believe the cost was around $250.00. If memory serves me that tests for 20 items. Though the test was informative as it did have things that I had already eliminated from her diet I did find that the test showed that she was sensitive to one of the few foods she actually does very well on. I then heard about a test called Glacier Peak Holistics on an allergy group I’m on. That tests for 200 including food and environment which cost $85.00. It is a food and saliva test. I that test was spot on for every single thing that through the years I had eliminated from her diet. The food that she does well on was not something that came up as a sensitivity on that test. It did come up with with food ingredient that I was not aware of and that was cucumbers. From time to time Katie would itch, not a lot but it was there. Turns out that they must have coincided with times that I shared cucumbers with the girls. I eliminated the cucumbers and she’s never scratched again. I feed all three of my dogs commercial raw frozen diets rotating brands and proteins with the exceptions of the ones that Katie cannot tolerate. For treats they get fresh fruits and veggies. I’ve been feeding them this way for a little over 4 1/2 years. Switching to the raw frozen was how I was able to eliminate her food issues as it was the quickest way to eliminate soy, grains, all fowl, corn, white potatoes, tomatoes, white rice, all night shade plant ingredients which are all pro inflammatory. I got Katie at the age of 9 weeks old and at that early age she was an allergy sensitive mess. It took me two years to go through the elimination process with her. She is now 6 1/2 years old and a happy camper. Quite comfortable and happy in her own skin. I continue to wipe all three toy dogs privates and paws with warm clean wash cloths. I should mention that I also have a “no shoes” policy in our home. No one, including repairmen, etc. enters our home with shoes on. It would defeat all I’m doing by dragging in environmental stuff that’s on the bottom of their shoes. Everyone is perfectly happy to go along with my wishes and as a matter of fact through the years more and more people that I know have gone with the “no shoes” in the house policy. I also purchased one of those iRobot Roombas that is programmed to go on daily and then I do a deep in the wall vacuuming once a week. It sounds like a lot but when it all comes together it’s all really easy and has changed her and our lives around.
Edit: I will add that there are some people that do not believe in the allergy tests that I have had done on Katie nor their efficacy. All I can say is that they really were spot on with Katie’s issues. Both companies will send you the kits that you need to do the testing with detailed instructions, you send everything back to them and typically in a week or so you’ll get an email with the results. You can then call them and they will go over the results in detail with you.
- This reply was modified 4 years, 12 months ago by Dori.
Thanks and sorry for the late response. I as well am trying to minimize anything in her environment that could cause a reaction. However, I do have carpet and she goes out in grassy areas whether it’s my yard or someone else’s yard when I’m walking her. The vaginitis appears to have cleared up, but I will keep an eye on it. Her problem now is her anal glands. She has always had to get them expressed either from the groomer or vet, but all of sudden I’ve had to get them expressed twice just this week. Typically, this has been needed every 2 – 4 weeks. I don’t know if this related to food, something environmental, or something else. It’s a ashame cause she is doing pretty good as far as her scratching. It doesn’t seem to be near as bad as it was before she went on Atopica and she has been off of that for about 5 months now. However, as a whole she seemed better when on the prescription diet and Atopica. No vaginitis, not as many anal gland issues, and as I’m writing this she acting like she’s about to throw up. Seems like it’s been a different or repeat ailment every week. I have been to the vet so many times its unreal. She has a couple of bumps on her skin as well, but I’ve had a couple of vets look at it them and they’re not highly concerned after looking at samples from a needle aspirate. One of them did however have a few cells that were “interesting.” I’m debating on going ahead and having them removed. With all this being said, I’m wondering if I should just go back to square one with the Rx diet and Atopica. I don’t want to cause the Atopica highly worries me, but I wonder about her quality of life as well. I am also looking into the tests everyone has mentioned because I am having a really tough time right now deciding on what to feed her. Thanks.
I would consult a Veterinary Internal Medicine Specialist, as I said before the dog’s issues may have nothing to do with the food.
Mail-in saliva and hair tests are not helpful from what I have read. By the way, they are not cheap. I have read a lot of complaints that the test comes back positive for nearly everything. Then what? Plus, it is not an allergy test, it’s a food sensitivity test?
A book review: http://skeptvet.com/Blog/2015/06/canine-nutrigenomics-by-dr-jean-dodds-science-as-windowdressing/ Read the comments, there are a variety of opinions, pro and con.
Hi Anon. Yeah, I know and I’ve always leaned more towards her issues being environment related. However, she doesn’t really seem to change from one season to the next like some dogs. She has always had year round issues. I guess I’ve just been baffled by the these different issues she’s had recently, she’s never had the genital issue before and the anal glands haven’t been this bad. Yet, she isn’t very itchy. Her skin is constantly changing in redness though, from red to not red and in between. I’ll take a look at the link you provided. I’m looking to at least consult with a vet dermatologist or internal medicine specialist. There’s a couple places here locally. Maybe it will be helpful to discuss with her vet to determine the highest priority of what she needs as I’ll be going in a few days for blood work and talk to the doctor who will be removing these bumps. I’m afraid this procedure here will set me back a bit and delay the trip to vet dermatologist though. Thanks.Holly NMember
I have read through most of the thread on this subject and wanted to weigh in. I have a female pug who supposedly was diagnosed with an enlarged vulva. She was scooting on the floor and that’s why I took her to the vet and when she was diagnose. She has food sensitivities as well as environmental allergies. Quantum leap one year later, my pug wasn’t feel well at all, with a long series of test, she was diagnosed with liver disease. She had lethargy, didn’t want to eat, constant drinking of water and urination. She now has vaginitis, which is a result of her liver disease. Just something to think about (but not too long) if you’re pup doesn’t have her symptoms clear up right away with the current treatment your vet has your dog on. Who knew that female dogs urinate through their vagina, which because of her liver disease, has created a secondary problem of vaginitis. Like I mentioned before, I didn’t read through the entire thread, so I’m not sure where you current treatment plan is with your pup. Keep in mind if your current treatment plan isn’t working, make sure your vet (or specialist) looks into things deeper. If it is liver related, the sooner it is discovered the better. Best of luck.James BParticipant
Hi @hollyn my 11 year old lab/rohdesian ridge back has a similar problem. She’s been leaking a foul smelling vaginal discharge for over 6 months now. The vet said she has a mass in her vulva and liver tests came back high. At her worst she wasn’t eating or drinking and had a hard time getting up. Now she is on galliprant and is doing much better (eating and drinking and has a lot more energy) however she is still leaking excessive discharge daily. We tried antibiotics but that didn’t do much. We’re thinking she may have cancer which has caused liver problems and no after reading your post that may explain the vaginitis. Is there anything you did for the liver disease to help get over vaginitis?
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