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Recessed vulva

Species: Dog
Breed: Labrador Retriever
Age: 6-12 months
I have a customer that claims the dog she bought from me has perivulvar pyoderma. The dog is constantly licking her vulva and is told she needs surgery to correct. She is claiming this is heridary and wants me to pay for the surgery. The question is "Is perivulvar Pyoderma a genetic defect?"


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thank you for an interesting question.

To answer your question, first, I'll explain what a perivulvar pyoderma is. "Pyoderma" means a skin infection and "perivulvar" means the skin surrounding the vulva. In many dogs it is possible to get a skin infection around the vulva because there can be folds of skin in this area. Infection happens because the folds are a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. They are warm and retain moisture well.

Some dogs will have very deep folds of skin on either side of the vulva because they are overweight. Then, some dogs will have deep folds because the vulva is recessed. I am guessing that in Chloe's case, she may have a recessed vulva. Sometimes if I see a dog with a recessed vulva I will let them go through a heat cycle before spaying them. While there are some risks associated with this (such as a higher risk of mammary cancer later in life), usually letting the dog go through a heat cycle will help the recessed vulva return to normal.

If perivuvlar pyoderma is severe, then most dogs will benefit from having a surgery done to help reduce the amount of folded skin around the vulva. You can find more information about this here.

So, to answer your question, perivulvar pyoderma is not a genetic condition. But the more appropriate question would be is a recessed vulva genetic? (because a recessed vulva could predispose a dog to getting perivulvar pyoderma). Here's where the answer becomes less black and white. A recessed vulva is not a condition that I would call genetic. While genes play a role in the shape of the vulva, it is not something I would call a genetic defect such as an umbilical hernia or cryptorchidism. But, a dog's genes will determine their body shape - this is why some dogs will have longer legs than others or a bigger head than others. Chloe's genes, which of course, were inherited from her mother and father, are in some ways responsible for her shape. But, there are other factors such as her weight, and whether she was spayed at a very young age.

I have actually spent a fair amount of time researching this answer for you as I wanted to get a more concrete answer for you. I searched on Veterinary Information Network (VIN) where vets talk about questions exactly like this one and the general consensus among vets was that this condition would not be considered hereditary.

I really hope everything works out ok.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Dear Dr. Marie, Thank you so much for your reply. My husband and I did want to give you a tip so, I just wanted you to know that I was waiting for paypal to pay you for 2 extra times through my bank account. I plan on needing questions answered in the future from you and I would also like to ad a link to my website for others. At this time, you probably gave me enough info to cover myself from the responsibility of Chloe. You did reference this question very well and I truly appreciate it. I currently use a local vet that is very old in his 80's and he is perfect for shots and certifications but I'm pretty sure he would not have gone through the length to answer my question the way that you have. We live in a rural area and it takes about an hour to get to a decent vet. You are currently on the top of my list for vets. Is it OK to put a link in my website to yours? Let me know, Thanks, Dawn@yellowlabsrus.com


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thanks Dawn. I'd love for you to link to my site! If you're having issues with Paypal, drop me an email at info@askavetquestion.com and we'll figure it out for you.

Looking forward to talking in the future,
Dr. Marie.



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.