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A Hypoplastic (or recessed) Vulva in Dogs… Definitions, expectations and costs!

OK, now, we have to be completely honest with you that this condition is exactly as uncomfortable as it sounds. So, if you have received this diagnosis in your female pet puppy, the only comfort you can get is that you are not the first loving pet owner to go through this. This is why we here at IndulgeYourPet wanted to take a moment and discuss what a hypoplastic vulva is and hopefully be able to shed a little bit of light on what it will be like to own a dog experiencing the uncomfortable situation.

So, let’s start our discussion by attempting to answer the question…

“What is a Hypoplastic Vulva?”

A Hypoplastic Vulva is the medical term used to describe the “retreat” of the vulva further into the internal passages. You may also hear it referred to as a ‘Juvenile Vulva’ because it resembles the Vulva of a dog that is still growing. This issue occurs when skin folds grow over the vaginal area, making it a trap for dirt and germs to build up. A dog that suffers from repetitive Urinary Tract infections is a possible sufferer. The more moisture and dirt gather in the area, the more likely the vagina is to push these germs back up the Urethra, leaving your poor puppy needing the vet.

Now surprisingly…

This condition is more common than you would think, especially among medium to giant-breed bitches, who tend to carry extra weight on them as a standard dog breed may. Plus, it should be noted that any female dog spayed is at higher risk of contracting this condition, as are overweight dogs, dogs who struggle against skin allergies, and medium to large breeds.

The problem with this condition…

In addition to the fact that it’s pretty uncomfortable for your pup, it can also lead your dog to develop infections within the trapped folds of skin, causing the recessed volva and increasing your dog’s risk of contracting a urinary tract infection. In cases like these, the problem lies not with the condition itself but rather with the diseases your dog might be exposed to. Besides anything else, this is a very itchy skin condition, meaning your dog will likely lick it to improve the situation.


Licking or scooting across the carpet will only cause further trauma to the potentially infected area. This condition has the potential to do serious harm to your dog should she be unable to leave the site well alone. And to make matters worse, this condition can come and go, too, particularly with young females of breeding age. The visibility of the vulva may depend upon where your dog is in her heat cycle. This means you may only need to treat this condition for part of the time.


This is very much like the human equivalent: Thrush. There is not a whole lot you can do to keep it away, and once you’ve had it, the chances are that you will get it again. Without the correction of surgery, you may find that you are forking out quite a lot for specialist shampoos, conditioners, and wet wipes designed to make your dog more comfortable.

Commonly Affected Breeds

This is one of those diseases that might affect any dog breed. That said, however, some key factors can contribute to it though. Dogs who have been spayed are at higher risk than others. This is a female-only condition; overweight dogs are at risk because of their excess skin, and any breed that is medium to large can expect symptoms at least now and again.

It is essential to note…

A recessed Vulva is perfectly normal in all female dogs until they go through their first heat cycle, which should be visible into adulthood. The knowledge that it happens to every female pup should give you an idea of how common a condition is.

Treatment Options

A hypoplastic vulva or recessed vulva can be monitored and treated with certain things. You might want to apply topical creams and unguents, wash the dog in medicated shampoo, and wipe her every time she starts to itch with a medicated wipe. This ought to be enough to relieve symptoms – mainly if they are only mild ones. If your dog genuinely suffers from repetitive urinary tract infections or excessively licking herself, you may want to employ a more permanent solution. In such cases, you may ask your vet about the surgical option, which might be better for you and your pup.

During this relatively…

With simple surgery, the skin folds are removed or pinned back, thus preventing future infection and bacterial buildup. This corrective operation is often the best option because it will typically only cause minimal distress to your dog and save you possible years of wiping the poor girl’s bum. That said, you and your vet will be sure what is and what isn’t best for your pet. This brings us to the part of the article where we like to remind folks that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians, or medical professionals. We are all a bunch of folks passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them.

This is why…

If you feel like your pet may have a recessed vulva (or any other health issue for that matter), you will first want to have them checked out by a vet ASAP! An early diagnosis will often lead to the “best” medical outcome for your pet regardless of what is bothering them, but beyond that, diagnosing a medical condition early could save you a bundle in medical costs!

This is also why we here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now, will a pet insurance policy be suitable for everyone?

No, probably not. But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

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