Juvenile vaginitis is a condition that can affect dogs of any breed, but only female puppies between the ages of 6 weeks and 12 months -- before she has had her first heat cycle. Once the puppy has reached puberty, juvenile vaginitis will not recur.
Juvenile vaginitis is the inflammation of the vagina in a female puppy that has not had her first heat. There are several potential causes of vaginitis in dogs, including excess yeast, a bacterial infection, a virus, a urinary tract infection or a foreign body in the vaginal cavity. Some puppies may be prone to vaginitis due to a congenital defect of the vagina. Other female puppies may have developed vaginitis from urine or feces contamination.
Signs and Symptoms
Vaginitis in puppies is a fairly mild condition. In the earliest stages, you may not even notice any signs, which may include frequent urination and vaginal itchiness. As the condition worsens, your puppy may suffer painful urination, excessive licking at the vaginal area, excessive floor scooting and an overall discomfort. The signs of more severe cases of juvenile vaginitis include a mucous-like vaginal discharge, pus, bloody urine and red, inflamed skin around the vagina.
Depending on the symptoms you're seeing and the age of your puppy, your veterinarian should be able to easily diagnose the condition, but your vet may want to perform a few tests first. Your vet may test cells from the inner walls of the vagina; a microscope will reveal if the cells show signs of puppy vaginitis. Your vet may want to check to rule out any other conditions by testing your puppy's urine and blood, as well as possibly taking a vaginal culture sample for examination.
If your vet determines that you puppy is suffering from juvenile vaginitis, he probably will not prescribe treatment, as the condition is self-treated. You want to make sure to keep the area clean using unscented baby wipes to remove the discharge, and the condition will clear itself up. If the cause of the vaginitis is due to a foreign object, removing the object will help clear up the condition. In some cases, depending on the severity, veterinarians may prescribe an oral antibiotic to help treat the symptoms of vaginitis.
By Whitney Lowell
UC Davis Book of Dogs : The Complete Medical Reference Guide for Dogs and Puppies; Mordecai Siegal: 1995
The Veterinarians' Guide to Your Dog's Symptoms; Michael S. Garvey D.V.M., et al: 1999
About the Author
Whitney Lowell has been writing online since 2007. She writes for a variety of online publications and across a wide range of topics and niches. She has experience with animal rescue, dog training, pet health and breeding reptiles.