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
- Another urinary tract infection, especially with the straining to urinate for an extended period of time
- 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.
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, especially since she is inclined not to drink which can exacerbate her symptoms. 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.
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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