Cause of vaginitis?
Our wonderful and gentle female CKCS, "Freckles", just turned 7 years old. She's had a relatively healthy life to-date; however, she has occasional bouts with what what her veterinarian describes as "vaginitis". We don't believe this is a common problem with the breed. She also usually needs to have her anal glands relieved once or twice a year--which, we believe, is somewhat common for smaller breeds, in general.
The vaginitis becomes manifest with her licking her vulva area--and occasionally "scooching" that area across our area rugs. Left unchecked, this leads to inflammation and discomfort...and more licking and scooching. If the condition worsens, we end up taking her to the veterinarian--where urinalysis usually reveals a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection). She's had this problem repeatedly over the last four or five years. Each time, the veterinarian placed her on a 14-day regimen of Clavamox, with Zyrtec, as needed. This would clear up the problem--but only for a few months. The veterinarian has commented that Clavamox will lose its effect on her.
The veterinarian is unsure of the root cause but is speculating that a "structural problem" in the bladder area is perhaps causing some urine to not fully drain--resulting in irritation/infection. The veterinarian is recommending that we have a regional specialist perform a "vaginascope" -- a procedure that will identify any structural problems, polyps, etc. But this would simply be an expensive ($1500!) exploratory procedure that wouldn't necessarily resolve anything. At best, it would determine that there is -- or is not -- a structural problem. If no structural problem is found, the veterinarian speculates that the problem could be due to an allergy; the veterinarian questions this, however, since she doesn't seem to be manifesting any other allergy symptoms; i.e., itchy skin, etc. The problem is consistently limited to itchiness/irritation in the vulva area. We're wondering how conclusive lengthy allergy testing would be.
She had been on Eukanuba Adult Small Breed dry food. When she was first diagnosed with this problem, however, her veterinarian suggested that grain be removed from her diet; we changed her food to Royal Canin K-9 Hypoallergenic dry food--which, besides being quite expensive, she didn't seem to like. After a few bags of the Royal Canin, and without any significant improvement...and after speaking with other CKCS owners...we switched her to (grain-free) Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet--Sweet Potato and Fish dry food. She seems to like the taste of this much better...and has been on this food for the last 18 months or so. She usually gets one Hill's K9 Hypoallergenic biscuit per day. She also occasionally gets baby carrots and cucumbers--which she likes very much. We've tried various combinations of limiting these items--an admittedly very difficult task--without any noticeable change.
She experienced the problem again about a month ago. We've been removing the area rugs from off the floors...and preventing her from being unsupervised in carpeted areas; we've also been placing an 'Elizabethean Collar' on her when we leave the house. Between the collar and the Clavamox, the inflammation diminished drastically; however, she continued to try to scooch. The veterinarian then prescribed a three-week regimen of Temaril-P (used to treat general allergic reactions); she gets her last pill tomorrow. Today we caught her licking and trying to scooch--so we're concerned that she isn't over the problem...and could be headed for another UTI.
I'm posting this message out of frustration and desperation. Besides our sadness over her ongoing condition, the veterinarian visits are becoming too expensive. Can anyone offer experiences, suggestions, or guidance? Which is likely the culprit: a structural defect, an allergy, or something else? Thank you for your time and consideration.
Since Feb 2011 we have been battling with a UTI/vaginitis that will not clear with one of ours - it's an E.coli that is resistant to damn near everything and after countless courses of antibiotics, anti inflammatories etc. etc. we are not much clearer than when we started. She has had scopes done - everything came back clear - dog knows how many swabs and urinalysis done, urine cultures, autoimmunity testing, immunodeficiency tests, kidney and liver function testing, ultrasounds, Urologist and Nephrologists check her out (her kidneys appeared a bit damaged in a scan)... anything they could think of doing, has been done and still all we know is that it is a resistant infection that just won't clean up.
Her symptoms are itchy vulva (licking and licking like no tomorrow) and a white discharge (which stinks!). The buster collar has to be deployed quite often and when she can't lick she will drag along the carpet or rub her bits off of her bed (clearly, it is driver her mad). We have made some progress in that she has been on a constant (circulating) dose of antibiotics since November 2011. These have been combination courses with either anti inflammatories, several antibiotics or topical antibiotics (creams, drops etc.). It seems to go in phases - a new antibiotic "stops working" so we have to finish the course and move on (usually involving sampling to make sure it is sensitive to the new antibiotic). This is when the itching starts again and the buster collar gets used to prevent any further irritation to the area.
At the moment, and I know I am jinxing us here, we are at the end of a course (less than a week to go) and the incessant itching hasn't started again (she licks a bit but nothing like before). We have to go back for sampling again (to see how much growth there is in her vagina and urethra/bladder) but fingers are very crossed in our house at the moment.
Part of her original problem was also bladder stones. None were found in the kidneys, only in the bladder. Diet had to be changed, which lead to a lot of other problems - diarrhoea and her cholesterol and triglycerides shot through the roof. 3 different "kidney" foods later and still no better so she had to come off of them for her own good. We are currently feeding half/half kidney food/regular adult food and she is due for a blood test to check her cholesterol and triglycerides to see if this will suffice. She is likely to need to go on sachets that are added to her food to sort out urine pH and deposits forming (thus resulting in crystals and stones). So this is also a constant worry - her kidneys have already suffered some damage (nothing major) and this needs to be addressed in the long term to keep them in shape. She put up quite a bit of weight on the foods too, which has to come off, but as a result the area around her vulva has become a bit, well, fat and her vulva is a bit recessed. The Urologist suggested that this may need to be operated on to ensure all urine is clearing away from the vulva but the is not the route cause of the problem so best to wait until the weight is addressed (and if we can get rid of the infection in the mean time, it may not be needed at all).
I would really like to tell you some good news but our story isn't very positive. I would talk to your vet about longer and stronger antibiotics (blast the crap out of whatever it is that is causing the problems), as this appears to have been the only option with us (all courses have been at least 6 weeks at a time). I absolutely understand your frustration over the issue - it is incredibly frustrating to see them licking and all you can do is go back to the vet. It is also very expensive and i fell your pain on this too.
I do not have a dog that suffers from UTI...but I myself however have Lupus..and therefore deal w/ kidney & bladder problems. After years of steroids, antibiotics, various prescriptions med.'s.. I asked my Rheumatologist if we could possibly try a more natural approach to my problems?? Do I still take prescriptions med.'s?..yes...but "not" nearly the amount I once did.
Anyway..in response to you both...there are so many things that help us naturally....those same things can also help our furry friends. I am a huge advocate of it...so I have talked in great length to our Vet..and they TOO agree.
Give 1 tsp. of plain yogurt ( w/ probiotics) in the morning and at night. Also add 1 tsp. of APPLE CIDER vinegar to food.
Try it for a month and see. Believe me..it cannot hurt. You might just be pleasantly surprised!!
This is not a cure all..but you might be surprised at how much it could improve your Cavaliers UTI problems.
The trick is...to change the PH & create an acidic system to where the bacteria is "good" bacteria rather than negative..that cause the infection.
I'm not saying do not give your dogs any med.'s your VET suggests...I am basically saying this may help by ridding the dog's system of continuous problems to where antibiotics no longer are effective.
..and the bonus..it will not interfere w/ those med.'s while doing so!
I do this for all my animals ( even though they do not have problems)
Also...My Cavalier & Labrador both get an Omega 3 capsule ( fish oil) squeezed over their food as well. Good for the "heart"!
I truly hope this helps !!!
Yogurt is suggested for humans to help vaginal flora (eaten, not applied topically).
I would maybe see about trying to balance pH to give healthy bacteria a chance to take hold.
Was your dog spayed when she was young?
Hi I'm not sure if you received my message. but i was hoping you can tell me what tests you ran that determined your pup had an ecoli bacteria. My spayed 8yr old, out of nowhere started discharging and after many tests, digital exam, scope to see, urinalysis & ultrasound, they cant seem to figure out what it is. She does not have a UTI and it just started out as a whtie discharge and licking a lot, after 3 weeks on clavamox, she has stopped licking and the disccharge is not as prevalent, but still there. I'm scheduled for a vaginoscopy to see if they can see further in. I was hopeing you can tell me what your results have been and what tests you ran to see that' it was ecoli? did you have the discharge tested, or a swab? and did they say how your pup got this bacteria?
I'm sorry for the many questions but any info would be greatly appreciated. I hope your pup is doing better and hope to hear from you soon, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org