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Characterization of recessed vulvas in dogs

Jean-Sébastien PalermeFrom the Departments of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011.

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Eric ZellnerFrom the Departments of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011.

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Sara LeonardFrom the Departments of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011.

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Austin K. ViallVeterinary Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011.

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Darren J. BergerFrom the Departments of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011.

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To determine the prevalence of vulvar recession in a large population of dogs and to compare the reproductive and physical differences between dogs with and without recessed vulvas.

ANIMALS

250 female dogs presenting to a tertiary referral institution.

PROCEDURES

Female dogs > 6 months of age presenting to a tertiary referral institution were enrolled. At enrollment, a full medical history was obtained with particular emphasis on the presence of lower urinary tract (LUT) disease in the 3 months prior to presentation. All dogs underwent a full physical examination including perivulvar cytologic examination and scoring of the degree of perivulvar skin coverage on the basis of an 8-point scale. Dogs with scores of ≥ 7 were classified as having recessed vulvas. When available, urinalysis data were also included.

RESULTS

Recessed vulvas were identified in 36 of 250 (14%) dogs. Dogs with recessed vulvas had significantly higher body condition scores and body weights than unaffected dogs. In addition, recessed vulvas were more common in spayed than sexually intact dogs. Dogs spayed at ≤ 1 year of age were almost 3 times as likely to have vulvar recession, compared with dogs spayed at > 1 year of age. No significant difference was identified between affected and unaffected dogs with respect to the prevalence of LUT signs, urinary tract infections, or perivulvar dermatitis.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Although recessed vulvas were relatively common in dogs, they did not appear to be associated with an increased risk of LUT disease or perivulvar dermatitis.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To determine the prevalence of vulvar recession in a large population of dogs and to compare the reproductive and physical differences between dogs with and without recessed vulvas.

ANIMALS

250 female dogs presenting to a tertiary referral institution.

PROCEDURES

Female dogs > 6 months of age presenting to a tertiary referral institution were enrolled. At enrollment, a full medical history was obtained with particular emphasis on the presence of lower urinary tract (LUT) disease in the 3 months prior to presentation. All dogs underwent a full physical examination including perivulvar cytologic examination and scoring of the degree of perivulvar skin coverage on the basis of an 8-point scale. Dogs with scores of ≥ 7 were classified as having recessed vulvas. When available, urinalysis data were also included.

RESULTS

Recessed vulvas were identified in 36 of 250 (14%) dogs. Dogs with recessed vulvas had significantly higher body condition scores and body weights than unaffected dogs. In addition, recessed vulvas were more common in spayed than sexually intact dogs. Dogs spayed at ≤ 1 year of age were almost 3 times as likely to have vulvar recession, compared with dogs spayed at > 1 year of age. No significant difference was identified between affected and unaffected dogs with respect to the prevalence of LUT signs, urinary tract infections, or perivulvar dermatitis.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Although recessed vulvas were relatively common in dogs, they did not appear to be associated with an increased risk of LUT disease or perivulvar dermatitis.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Palerme (jspalerme@gmail.com).