Welcome to Justanswer! I am Dr. Altman and happy to assist you both today!
I am so sorry to hear that your dog has an irritated vulva. I assume the concern is because she is fixed/ spayed and this is unusual for her.
When I have a dog doing a lot of licking of the vulva the concerns are going to be:
- Vulvitis/ vaginitis or inflammation/ infection of the vulva which can be due to vulvar fold pyoderma (an inverted vulva) or leaking urine. Here is more information on this condition: http://www.petplace.com/article/dogs/diseases-conditions-of-dogs/reproduction/vaginitis-in-dogs
- A urinary tract infection which the swelling can be the only indicator
- Crystals in the urine which can be related to a urinary tract infection or completely separate. The best way to describe this sensation for her is that it is like having insulation that irritates the skin on the hair of the vulva! It is quite uncomfortable, like shards of glass on the area that is very uncomfortable. I have dogs that scoot on the ground while others will do quite a bit of licking yet other dogs simply have swelling with this condition.
- Allergies are not a common cause in this area unless she is scooting in the grass. Ears, rectum, feet, axillary, inguinal but not vulva
My first inclination is to do a urinalysis on her to rule out crystals or an infection. First morning sample, fresh or refrigerated but also want it read as soon as possible because a sample sitting for a while that is very alkaline can falsely create crystal formation. Second, doing a vaginal or vulvar swab for bacteria, white cells, or abnormal epithelial cells would be my next step followed by abdominal x-rays to rule out stones in the bladder as well.
I would try increasing her water intake for now. You can do this by supplementing the dry food with water and flavoring the water (maple syrup or salt free broth for example) as well. Increasing the water intake will help "flush" out the bladder. In addition please limit licking as well since oral bacteria can cause further aggravation to the area and cause a urinary tract infection where there might not be one
Lastly, you can take a moist towel and put it in the freezer for 30 minutes and apply it to the area to provide relief along with benadryl at 1 mg/ pound every 8-12 hours to help with the itch and irritation but this may cause mild sedation as well.
If there is no change or progressive symptoms overnight then I would consider a veterinary er visit to diagnose the underlying cause and get her relief from her symptoms. I hope this information makes sense but please let me know if you have any additional questions I can assist with!
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