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Dr. Scarlett
Dr. Scarlett, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 4110
Experience:  I am a practicing small animal veterinarian with 18 years experience.
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My girl dogs private area is swollen. Why

Customer Question

My dog is a shitzu and im not sure how old she is but I dont think that she is that old. Her private area where she urinates is swollen. It does not seem to hurt when I touch but she does lick it sometimes. She seems to be a little more tired sometimes but still herself. I cannot afford a vet visit right now so can you tell me what is wrong and how I can fix it. Thank you.

Alicia Mott
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Scarlett replied 8 years ago.
Shih Tzus can have their first heat when they are about 9-10 months old. If this is the case, you will notice some bleeding in the next couple of weeks. You can tell if she is at least 6 months old by looking at her teeth--she should have all her adult canine teeth (the big fang teeth) by 6 months of age.

If she really isn't that old, then other causes of vulvar swelling could be exposure to estrogens (such as a cream menopausal women might use) or vaginitis--particularly if she is licking back there a lot. If she has puppy vaginitis, you may notice a greenish or mucousy discharge. While we often try treating these with antibiotics, the problem generally clears up on its own after the puppy's first heat.

Another possibility is "strangles", but that will cause swellings in many other places, as well.

I would first make sure there isn't any estrogen-containing cream your puppy could have gotten into (eaten, specifically). If not, then look at her teeth and see if she is at least 6 months old. If she has all her adult teeth, she may be older than you think she is and is going into heat. If she is still less than 6 months, then she may have vaginitis and may need to be seen by your regular vet.

Hope that helps! Please let me know if you have other questions.
Dr. Scarlett