Inverted vulvas–normal or not? Also a note on Urinary Tract Infections in females and male canines

In October 30, 2019


This blog post is probably 33 years too late, and I’m not real sure why I never thought to write about it before. But it’s something so common that we just never saw it as something that needed to be addressed, necessarily, and never gave it another thought and never had any issues with it. 

Some say it runs in bloodlines, but in 33 years of breeding Labs I can’t say I’ve personally seen that trend. And as I’ve had a few females myself that had them, I’ve lived with several and never had an issue. Always pops out on the first heat. 

Some veterinarians are apt to scare a new puppy owner with “OMG! You’re going to have bladder infections forever, blah, blah, blah…then nothing happens and …boom! (the vulva POPS OUT THE FIRST HEAT!) Possibly with no issues leading up to that time which is at about 6-14 months of age, depending on the size of the bloodlines and how quickly/slowly they mature.

The vulva can be placed in many positions and be many sizes, just as the variety of penis sizes and shape in our male dogs. If you find yourself with a pup with an inverted or recessed vulva—DON’T PANIC!! I see them all the time—and in 33 years never personally seen any issues.

BUT… If it’s a rare VERY inverted one my veterinarian would make a note of it on the health record and the new puppy owner would be notified. In those RARE cases, here are some tips (and maybe someone out there has adopted a dog or Lab and has had issues with it, here’s some simple things while you are waiting for that first heat for the vulva to pop out–it swells to about the size of a small apricot):

1. Shave the area (that way urine won’t “pool” in the folds of skin, and in that are there is a little sprig of hair there)

2. Wipe with tissue when she comes inside after she pees

3. Give Nature’s Farmacy’s “Tri Cran-C” on food daily and you’ll never have an issue. In fact, my girls just get it every day—no matter what—even with all normal vulvas. It sure can’t hurt, and the vitamin C will assist in keeping your dog’s immune system at its optimum level. Also administer probiotics.

As I travel to shows, and sit with other exhibitors at dog shows (some veterinarians) along with other breeders, we have all observed this notion of inverted vulvas but have never seen it as something we can necessarily trace genetically or prevent. It is normal to have the variety of shapes and sizes, and depth of where the vulva sits, and for it to shape and grow as the puppy matures. 

And…BTW IF YOU HAVE A MALE THAT HAS RE-OCCURING URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS you can practice the same 3 steps above!   


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