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Rectovaginal fistula.

Species: Dog
Breed: Doberman
Age: Less than 3 mon
We have a litter of 4 wk old Doberman puppies being bottle raised because mom was careless and killed half of litter.
Today I saw one female puppy poop from her vagina. Sort of solid, not runny. She has otherwise been fine, eating and peeing. Size and activity are normal.
We wormed them once so far. They were treated for clostridia as well.
I'm a little freaked out.
Thanks.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thanks for your question. If you are fairly certain that you saw stool coming out of the vaginal opening then there is a possibility that this puppy has a rectovaginal fistula. This happens when the wall between the rectum and the vagina is not complete.

If this is what the puppy has then there is a possibility that it can be fixed with surgery. But, this type of surgery can be complicated and also expensive.

If no surgery is done, there is a possibility that she could still live ok, but usually dogs with this type of problem have serious issues. Stool in the vaginal tract can cause repeated infections. Also, usually these dogs are incontinent meaning that they cannot hold their stool inside. The other concern is that often when puppies are born with a rectovaginal fistula there can be other serious birth defects, some of which may not be obvious at first. It may be that the puppies that died had some birth defects and this is why they died. (If the mother did kill them, often the mom can know when puppies have a life threatening defect and actually kill them so that she can focus on feeding the healthier pups.)

Ideally it would be best to have a vet examine the pup. But to get the best idea as to what is going on they will likely need to do some extensive tests such as injecting a dye into the rectum and taking xrays to see where it goes.

I wish I had better news for you.

Dr. Marie.


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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.

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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.