I work from 8.30 am to around 11 am on Saturdays and sometimes encounter interesting cases.
On this Saturday, April 13, 2013, the owner brought in the 2-year-old Japanese Spitz for vaccination.
"It is abnormal to see dark reddish hairs around the vulval area," I said to the lady owner and spayed the dog two weeks ago.
"My other Spitz that had died had this too," she replied.
I noted that this dog had a much smaller vulval lips, almost hidden unlike normal female dogs. Why would this young female dog be continuously licking her private parts several times a day for many months? The saliva stains tainted the hairs around the region to a dark red brown.
"Is there a urinary tract infection (UTI)?" I asked the owner. "Does she pee a lot?"
"Not a lot, but she sometimes lie on her urine."
"If the dog keeps on licking for many years, the vulval area would become black and scaly like a crocodile skin," I said. "I had seen such cases in one old female dog."
I turned the dog upside down with the help of the owner and my assistant. I parted the vulval lips and there inside the vestibule was a large mass of around 1.5 cm x 1 cm. Was this the irritating cause of the licking? I had images taken. This appeared to be an enlarged clitoris. So was the dog self-stimulating or was she trying to lick away the abnormal sized organ?
Is this a transgender or bisexual dog? What's the solution? I advised surgical excision of the swelling so that the female dog can pee normally. Surgery is scheduled 3 weeks later. Usually I don't perform a much more detailed visual examination of the inner parts of the vagina and I believe most vets don't do it too. So some of such cases are mis-diagnosed as UTI which was what I suspected.