Recessed/Inverted/Hooded Vulvas and Chronic Infections


The original pic here was hijacked by Photobucket so if you need to see a pic of a RV pup please email me and I will send one.  In the mean time I am working to get my pic back up here.

(All my pics on photobucket have been hijacked O/A  7/1/17 – I own these pics and can no longer use them unless I want to pay photobucket $300.  This is outrageous!  If anyone knows a way around this please email me with help.  I can not find a phone number to contact a person on their site.  Thanks

PLEASE NOTE:  This blog will remain here but due to administration (that I have no control over) I will not receive email notice of your post on this blog.  So please, if you need help contact me via email or phone thru my web site at I am sincerely here and willing to help.

Some female pups can be born with what is called a recessed (RV) , inverted or hooded (flap of skin covering all or part of the vulva) vulva, sometimes termed an “innie” or “tipped” (not recessed all the way around the vulva).  Please see the pic above to compare to your pup.   Please note:  this pic is of a RV pup, not a normal vulva.

This allows urine to pool in the valley around the vulva and the resulting bacteria can be the cause of chronic urinary tract infections (UTI) or bladder infections.  This should not be confused with puppy vaginitis which will usually show in a slight mucusy discharge.  Vaginitis is not a bacteria or infection but is something that its best to wait for first heat cycle as maturity/puberty will often put a stop to it.  Just wiping the vulva with warm water and cotton is the best you can do until it clears up.  Antibiotic will not help vaginitis.  See this link:

If you suspect your new puppy has a RV there are holistic ways of preventing infection.  It is also very important that this pup is not spayed until she has her first heat cycle because most times the vulva will correct itself as a result of that heat cycle (sometimes it takes 2 cycles to correct but most often only one cycle).  If you spay prior to the first heat you could be subjecting the pup to a lifetime of infections.  Be sure and ask your vet if they have ever dealt with this as there are vets who have never seen a case and would not know what they are looking at.  If that is the case please seek out another vet so you are not advised to spay your pup prior to first heat.

For those afraid to wait to spay because they have read about cancer and infections, please see this link.  The risk starts to go up after age 2.5 and most dogs will have a first heat by 1 year, although some will go a bit beyond that.

A reputable breeder will inform a buyer of a RV and instruct on holistic treatment to prevent infections.  As a breeder I write a letter to the buyer’s vet informing them of the RV and the need to allow first heat cycle and that this time frame for spay is in my contract with buyer.  This helps prevent a vet from pushing a spay prior to first heat cycle.The first time I had ever seen this condition was with a pup I had purchased from another breeder who chose not to inform me of it.  My vet diagnosed it and unfortunately, since the breeder had ignored the condition, pup had a very severe infection that took over 6 months and in excess of $600.  to get rid of.  The breeder was aware of the condition and admitted it to me after I had it diagnosed.  Thankfully my pups RV corrected on her first heat cycle.

For the health of my pups I would never consider withholding this condition, or any other condition for that matter, from a potential puppy buyer.  I instruct my pup buyers to take a urine sample to the vet at their 72 hour vet check and if pup has an infection I will pay for the first round of antibiotics if they are necessary.  Buyer must then be diligent in following my holistic instructions below.  Because of what I went thru with my pup I now know how to handle this and it is really a non issue because  I start holistic treatment immediately to prevent infections.

I have had 3 pups from my own litters with RV and started them on one cranberry capsule daily at 6 weeks of age.   This should continue “every day” until pup has her first heat and vulva corrects.   The cranberry adheres to the bladder wall preventing bacteria from sticking and causing infections.  I also recommend checking urine PH weekly at home.  Normal PH is 5.5 – 7.   If PH is elevated double up on crancaps (1 in a.m. and 1 in p.m. meal) for a week (or two if necessary) and recheck PH.  Once PH is in normal range drop back to single dose.  If it remains elevated for two weeks take a urine sample to the vet to be checked as antibiotics may be necessary if it is a severe enough infection.

Collect urine first thing in the morning before any food or water and in mid stream for best sample.  I use a tuperware lid.  Take dog out on a leash first thing in a.m. prior to food or water.  When she squats wait a bit so she is in mid stream and just stick a tupperware lid under her butt from behind and pull it out real quick.  You only need a small amount to test.

If she stops going don’t worry just walk her around so she squats again to empty her bladder, she will eventually get use to it.

Put in a small tupperware container or jar and take to the vet.  When testing PH at home just dip a strip in the urine and compare the strip to the chart on the box while the strip is still wet.

Here is a link to purchasing the PH strips.

Be sure and order the 5-10 PH range strips.

A few people have been telling me that Amazon is out of this product.  All you need is a PH urine strip that will show a 5-10 range.  You can get this at your pharmacy or do a google search for:

buy ColorpHast 9588/3 Test Strips, 5-10 pH (Box of 100)

I’m sorry for this but I have done my research and can’t find another vendor.

If you do have elevated PH you can also give live organism probiotics to put good bacteria in the system that will also aid in warding off infection.  I give a 10 billion organism at 1/8 tspn daily for 8 week old pup.  I prefer a live organism that must be refrigerated as opposed to a pill form.  If you need to give antibiotics it is also advised to give the probiotics 2-3 hours after each dose of med and to continue for at least a few weeks with probiotics after meds are finished.  Amount of weeks to continue would depend on dosage and length of time on antibiotics.   Antibiotics kill off good bacteria along with the bad so it is important to replace this good bacteria with the probiotics.  In some cases, where pups are getting infections, wiping the vulva after each urination with unscented baby wipes can help.  You can purchase crancaps or probiotics at most health food stores or you can go to item #498 and #963.  If you prefer to order on the phone go to extension 149 for Nancy.  She is the rep I deal with and knows these products well.  Please be sure to tell her that I referred you. (Patty at Snowco Labradors)

Note: (6-19-13) The crancaps have been discontinued and Progressive is diligently researching for a new provider of a quality crancap.  You can try their other UT product called U-Tract or U-Tract Complete.  Go to the website and choose Urinary Tract Health on the left side of the screen to see these products.

This is D-Mannose which some posters have used with success.  Progressive has veterinarian customers that use this product for cats and dogs.  You can call and talk to Nancy at extension 149 for further info and dosage.   I would recommend the powder if using the Complete (the capsule form has a lot more ingredients and not sure about them for dogs).

****I have not used this product or any form of D-Mannose so can not comment on its effectiveness.****

GNC product (crancaps) instead: (2 capsules = 1000mg).

In the case of my pups none have ever had an infection because the above regime was followed by the buyer and pups corrected on their first heat cycle.  I have had adult dogs urine test positive at the vet for a UTI and have gotten rid of it by giving  the crancaps twice daily for 2 weeks and having urine tested again.  If the infection had not cleared up I would have considered antibiotics depending on the severity of the infection.  I choose to take the holistic approach whenever possible as antibiotics can reak havoc on the system.  As always you should consult your vet and I prefer to deal with a vet that will not poo poo the holistic approach even if they choose not to prescribe it to their patients.

If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation as I did with the pup I purchased from the breeder and you can not get rid of a severe infection with antibiotics it is important to do a culture and sensitivity at the laboratory to pin point the exact type of bacteria so the proper type of antibiotics and dosage can be given.  It is best to get the urine sample for this c/s test thru what is called a cystosentisis which is urine drawn from the bladder via needle for the purest sample possible.  This is not painful to the dog but the dog must have a full bladder so it is important to have the first appointment of the morning at the vet.  Get up get the dog in the car (not allowing them to squat outside) and go.

I am not a veterinarian so I do advise having your pups urine tested at your vet the first time you suspect an infection and then make an informed decision as to the treatment you want to use.  But remember, constantly using antibiotics can be detrimental to the long term health/immunity of your pup.

Vulvoplasty/Nip N Tuck:  this is plastic surgery that a lot of vets will recommend to correct a RV on a dog that has already been spayed.  Some will even recommend it prior to spay or at same time as spay because they do not know that a heat cycle can correct the RV.  What bothers me are the vets that spayed a dog with RV prior to first heat (because they don’t know what a RV looks like), and than later when dog is having UTI issues they suddenly diagnose the RV and recommend the surgery.

I don’t recommend this surgery unless you have a dog that has been spayed and you can not keep UTI free with my method.  You can not keep a dog on antibiotics for life – therefore, the surgery would be best.  My first step would be the holistic approach and if it works than keep the dog on it for life to prevent UTIs.

If you have to go with the surgery please be sure to use a vet that is seasoned in this procedure.  Ask your vet how many they have performed and what the success rate of keeping the dogs UTI free was.  If your vet has never preformed this surgery please find one that has experience.

If anyone has a pup with a recessed vulva and you have further questions please feel free to ask here or contact me thru my web site.

I have been having trouble getting some emails thru to people (Verizon, AOL, EDU) so if you do not get a response please feel free to call me.  My number is on my web site.

Author: patty

Franklin Lakes, NJ

285 thoughts on “Recessed/Inverted/Hooded Vulvas and Chronic Infections”

  1. Hi Patty,

    Well, I think it’s time for some good news on this blog. I am so happy to give my update. It’s been a whole year since Maggie has had a UTI! I still give her 500 mg crancap 2x/day.

    I was going to try a decrease but was hesitant and kept putting it off. Here is my question – her pH has been about 6.0 for many months. Is this too low for the long term? Do you think I should try a decrease? I would be vigilant about checking pH.

    Nancy, Maggie’s UTIs were caused by e coli. We never determined the cause. She was not one to clean herself excessively, but I did keep the fur around her vulva and rectum closely trimmed. Maggie is a Golden and very furry – maybe not as much of an issue for Bella.

    I looked up Maggie’s records. She was put on Clavamox for her 1st UTI. When it reoccurred, we did the C&S. It showed she was sensitive to several antibiotics. The vet decided to put her on Smz-Tmp, a sulfa med that has been around a while. Long story short, she was on this med for a total of 8 weeks. Meanwhile we found Patty, started crancaps, and voila, here we are with a success story.

    To Nancy and everyone struggling to find resolution, keep asking questions and searching for info. I wish you all the best.

    Patty, again I thank you.


  2. Jill,

    this is so great to here. You absolutely can cut her crancaps back if she is staying in normal PH range 5.5-7

    6 is a great range to keep her in. that is right in the mid of normal.

    absolutely try cutting her back on crancaps, just keep checking her urine PH to be sure she stays in range.

    There are times if you know your dog well enough and keep up on PH that you can stop the crancaps and when you see issues or elevated PH you go back on crancaps.

    You go girl. You are doing a great job!!!!

    Kudos to you!!!!!!


  3. PS Jill:

    thanks so much for the update.

    It means a lot to me (especially since I recommend the regime) and others looking for help.

    Anyone else getting good results, its much appreciated to see you post back here.

    And that goes for those of you who still have issues and this regime is not helping.

    Please come back or contact me privately for more help.

    Please know helping others with their dogs is a passion in my life. If I don’t have the answer
    I will help you in your research to find the right answer

  4. Patti and Jill…thank you! Bella is tolerating the marbofloxin well, we pray this clears it up! Patti, not much hair for Bella in the area but will surely keep an eye on it. We have been using the baby wipes several times a day, she is not having any more discharge like symptoms so hoping we are getting close to being healthy! I did ask Dr. from her surgery what her PH was, it was 7. Going to keep her on the cranberry capsules from her on out! I asked my vet about the crancaps…he said he didn’t think they would make a difference….well we are surely going to see about that! Will keep you posted!

  5. Jill, how old is Maggie? Bella is now 20 weeks old…she is a wild puppy, amazes me that she is not even aware of the infection (ecoli) in her for months! So glad to hear your dog is doing great, Patti we are so thankful for your help!

  6. I have quickly scanned some of the blogs about RV; I have a 9 year old Basset- Rosey Belle. She went thru her first heat before she was spayed. As I look back I believe she has had symptoms of this problem for several years. Each time i mentioned the discharge she had to a vet they brushed the topic off. Only after paying huge money to an internal med vet did he tell us she has RV. Now our vet has recommended surgery. Rosey has been thru 4 long treatment periods on antibiotics, and the vets test her pH. But I can’t remember what hers was, but I think she was towards the alkaline side of the scale. The IM vet said cranberry ONLY helps for certain kinds of e-coli, and you have to give at least 400 mg twice daily. I put her on pet-dophilus on my own. Found it at the human vitamin store. Someone has also told me of D- Mannose for recurring bladder infections.
    So, I am scared to death for her to have surgery. but scared not to as I fear the effects of long term antibiotic treatment.
    Any words of wisdom you can share would be much appreciated!
    She is overweight, and many dogfoods send her out to eat grass, usually durng the night keeping both dogs and humans awake much of the night-or she just wont eat them.. Did you ever meet a picky Basset!! 🙂 Appreciate you help! Thanks. Joy

  7. Joy,

    You mention a discharge. This is not something you see with UTIs but is more likely vaginitis. What color is the discharge?

    See this link:

    Did the vet do a culture and sensativity to diagnose e coli? If a C/S has not been done your dog was most likely on the wrong antibiotic and the reason the infection keeps coming back.

    Her being overweight could be the cause of the RV (surprised her first heat did not correct it). Consider a grain free food – some dogs lose weight on them.

    I personally would get her on the crancaps and test PH at home and see how she does. If you can keep her UTI free this way than I would not do the surgery.

    If in fact she even has had UTIs (as mentioned the discharge tells me vaginitis – although you can have both issues).

    If it is just vaginitis the surgery won’t help IMO. The surgery is to prevent urine from pooling around the vulva and bacteria setting in. Vaginitis is not bacteria.


  8. Yes, Rosey has had “something” around her vulva for years, sticky/sometimes bad odor. I kept tryig whatever I knew to keep her clean. Also redness and sticky in the fold of her tummy- vet calls it her “udder”. Some schools of thought insinuate urine could scald the area leaving it irritated. Yes a C & S was done at least 2-3 times. Not the first time. After she kept showing back up with infection symptoms they started doing more tests. Past 2-3 times they have done the needle straight into the bladder to get her urine sample. Since her last round of treatment with antibiotics – no more discharge. Of course maybe I confused matters by adding the pet-dophilus (probiotic powder) not sure if that would have impacted vaginitis. Maybe she had a yeast infection? I really am going to try the crancaps and ph testing as I sincerely don’t want to take her for surgery.
    So, your whole plan for the cran caps, etc…where is this whole regime?
    Also grain free food…do you have one in mind?
    Thank you!

  9. Nancy, Maggie will be 2 years old in April and less of a wild child, although I do miss those crazy days. When she was 1st diagnosed with UTI, I would have never known, because she was so full of energy. I never saw a discharge, only some bloody, oily and nasty smelling urine on the floor. This was 3 weeks after her spay and I freaked out.

    Our vet admitted to not knowing much about crancaps, but said it couldn’t hurt, and recommended a vulvoplasty (that we never did). When we finally got in to see our holistic vet, she applauded us for giving the crancaps. Bottom line, most traditionally trained vets know little about alternative methods and nutrition. Thank God we have Patty and all this info at our fingertips with a little searching.

    Joy, we started with 2000 mg crancaps 2x/day and tapered down. We learned a lot about nutrition at our consults with the holistic vet. I agree with Patty that trying to help Rosey Belle with a little weight reduction may help. It was easy for us to incorporate healthy and natural foods because Maggie likes just about everything!

    Best of luck to everyone, Jill

  10. The probiotics would not make her issues worse IMO, it can only help.
    Go to the top of the blog and see where I talk about giving crancaps and PH testing.
    I feed Orijen grain free but there are many brands on the market. Not sure what would be best for a Bassett or if it would matter which one you feed.
    It does sound like she also had/has vaginitis. The vet should be able to take a vaginal swab to see if it is yeast. If so apple cider viniger (organic) can help ward off yeast. I give 1 tbsp in food daily with water added. This works for yeasty ear problems too.

  11. First day off the antiobiotics for Bella….praying that her ecoli infections are gone….come on CRANCAPS!!!! Will keep you posted on Bella!

  12. Help…… We have a 4 month old choco lab puppy who has had uti one after another has been on series of antibiotics. I have also included vit c tabs 500 mg along with 2500 mg of cranberry caps 2x’s daily and Uva Urisa 2 x’s daily PH is still elevated. The vet ordered urine culture just got results no bacteria not sure if this is because she is and was on an antibiotic when tested. She does well as long as she is on an antibiotic 2 days off and she is having accidents again in house, needs to go out very very often and crying out when she urinates. She does have an inverted vulva which we wipe down with warmed baby wipes after she goes to the bathroom. Any suggestions ??? She is the sweetest little girl.

  13. Hi Kelly,

    The culture was most likely masked by the antibiotic. When testing or retesting the dog should be off antibiotic for 3-5 days so you don’t get a false negative.

    Are you using crancaps from fruit concentrate. This is more potent than from juice. Can you give me a link to the product you are using? and what is Uva Urisa (what is in it), never heard of it. Also make sure your Vit. C does not have calcium (Ester C is calcium) you don’t want that for a growing Lab.

    Are they sure she does not have any stones – the crying out makes me think this even though she is so young. But if she has had many infections in her 4 months – did any urine samples show crystals? Crystals can clump together causing stones which are painful.


  14. Hi Patty –

    I have a 3 yr old black lab with an incorrectly formed vulva – in fact you can’t see it unless you pull back her fur. She has never been diagnosed w/ a UTI though. The reason I took her to the vet was due to her leaking urine, particularly in the evening after she’s been inside for an hour or two, a small puddle or drips around the house. She doesn’t appear to realize that she has done so. She also wets her bed if I’m gone for more than about 4 hours – but is hanging her head when that happens. These issues have been going on and off for her whole life. Unfortunately she was spayed prior to her first heat and nothing was mentioned about her vulva at that time.

    The vet ran thorough urine and blood tests and did an ultrasound to rule out any bladder issues. He says she’s completely healthy except for the vulva defect. He’s checked w/ 3 surgeons in our area about doing the surgery and only one would commit to a success rate. He said close to 75% chance it would stop her leaking. The vets feel that urine is pooling in her vulva and leaking out later. My husband thinks it has to do with her being tired since it seems to only happen in the evening and is quite awhile after she’s been out. We’ve noticed that it’s better, but not perfect, if we limit her water intake in the evening but I don’t want that to cause other problems. We also don’t want to put her through the surgery if it won’t fix the problem.

    Do you have any suggestions on the leaking issue?

  15. I adopted a rescue pup who was spayed at 6 months of age. After having her a couple weeks I realized she had a UTI, it was treated and came back again a month later. I started researching and I found your site and realized she has a recessed vulva. I’m going to be following your holisitc protocol and hope it works because I fear the future doesn’t bode well considering she has already suffered through two UTI’s in less than two months. Do you think I would be wise to consult the vet about the surgery if the UTI’s persist?

  16. Hi Jeanette,

    Your girl may not be having issues from her recessed vulva since she is not getting UTIs. She may have spay incontinence and if that is the case, surgery to correct her RV will not stop her night time leaking.

    Have you tried the carncap approach to see if you get results. That is the first thing I would do.

    If that does not work there are meds for incontinence but some have side effects (Proin comes to mind).

    I know people giving 1/4 cup of soy milk daily which stops incontinence.

    worth a try. But please know if your girl has infections, that is not the same as incontinence and the soy will not stop the infections.

    The other thing I question if she has been leaking urine her whole life (although I don’t see this happening only at night) is to be sure she does not have an ectopic ureter. Only Ultra Sound can determine that.

    It sounds to me like you need a second opinion from another vet.

    The amount of urine that would pool in her recessed vulva that could leak out would be very, very minimal. How much leaking are you seeing on her bed at night?


  17. Tara,

    Please try my method with the crancaps and testing PH at home before you consider surgery.

    You may be just fine without surger.

    come back here, email me privately or call me before you consider surgery please.

    You can get all my contact info thru my web site.

    I will be away for the holiday but back on Monday.

    Hang in there


  18. Thanks Patty. I haven’t tried the cran caps yet since Pepper hasn’t had UTIs but I will. Soy milk too – worth a shot. She doesn’t leak overnight if we let her out before we go to bed and right when we get up – usually about 8 hours. We did have an ultrasound done that confirmed she doesn’t have an ectopic ureter. When she does leak in the evenings it’s usually small puddles that are on her pet bed or the carpet so it’s hard to say how much. I’d guess a few tablespoons sometime a bit more. It is consistently after she’s been in for awhile, so I don’t think it’s due to pooling in her vulva. We have tried cutting down water after her dinner and that’s helped a lot.

  19. Good luck Jeannette. Let me know how she does on the crancaps and soy. You might want to try the crancaps alone first for a couple (2-3) weeks and see what happens.


  20. Patti….so far so good with Bella! Those crancaps really do work! Jeanette…our 6 months old G. Shep, Bella has what your pup does, we ended up having to put her on Marboflax, very strong antiobiotic after three diff. rounds of antiobiotics as she had UTI with ecoli that would not clear up. She has been on Crancaps now for a month…..she is clear!!! PLEASE try it before surgery, perhaps also your antiobiotic did not work for her like Bella….whom also has a vulva issue. We use unscented baby wipes and wipe her in the morning and evening, very funny, she comes in I grab a wipe and she knows to lay down and lift her leg!!! Give them a try!!!

  21. Nancy,

    That is great news!!! Be sure and update your vet since they did not think crancaps would make a difference.


  22. Will do! She did not have any more blood when urinating or difficulty sometimes when urinating so she was did not have any more urine tests ran, they said they wouldn’t need to unless symptoms were there, so we believe the antiobiotic and the crancaps did it this time! She will be on them from here on out! Do you think we should remain giving her them twice a day still or cut her down to 1 a day now?

  23. Hi Patty,
    I sure hope you can help me. I have a Chihuahua that is 6 years old and she is overweight (she weighs 12.9 pounds). December 2009, she was diagnosed with vaginitis and put on Clavamox. The infection healed, and last week I had to take her back to the vet for the same thing. They put her on Baytril and Panalog ointment. I don’t think this round of antibiotics is helping much. The vet wants to do surgery on her, and I really don’t want to do that unless it is really necessary. I keep her clean, using baby wipes every day on her. Do you think the carnberry capsule treatment will work for her? If so, what dosage would you recommend? I am willing to do whatever it takes to get her better. Can I use any kind of cream on her–like diaper rash cream or a female cream? Please help

  24. Hi Nancy,

    Does your girl have a recessed vulva? Vaginitis is not caused by RV but UTIs are (urinary tract infection). Antibiotics will not help vaginitis because it is not a bacteria but rather a fungus/yeast. The meds are most likely masking the vaginitis and
    the reason it comes back when meds are finished/out of her system.

    There is a chance that a discharge (you usually see with vaginitis) is a bacteria and not
    vaginitis at all. The vet should do a vaginal smear and send it to the lab for culture.

    If they grow a bacteria they will know exactly what type and be able to recommend the proper antibiotic. If no bacteria than I would say it is vaginitis.

    If culture shows fungus/yeast (not sure that would show up in a culture but should under a microscope) than there are
    holistic things like oil of oregano, alfalfa (both antifungals) that you can give orally for fungus. Not sure of the dose for such a small dog. (you may want to consult a
    holistic vet). I get both at GNC. Apple cider viniger can also help ward off yeast (Braggs organic brand from GNC). I would give about a tspn or less/day in food with water added for a small dog but check with holistic vet. (I don’t have experience with 12 lb dogs)

    Did you read the vaginitis remarks from Dr. Hutch on my blog?

    IMO surgery will not stop vaginitis. And if there is no RV than what surgery is your vet
    talking about? If she is overweight it could be the cause of a RV and dropping weight can correct it. If she is recessed has she been that way since you got her (assuming you got her at 8 weeks)? If so than she was born with it.

    I honestly have never used crancaps for vaginitis (only UTIs) so not sure if it will
    help/work but its worth a try.

    The crancap you mention in your email that you use for yourself sounds like a good dose for a small dog. You can put the
    pill in her food or open it into the food or use cheese. However she will eat it.

    Has the vet done a urinalysis? What is her PH?

    I would think the panalog ointment would help with irritation. You have to be careful what you use because she will most likely lick herself and be ingesting the cream.

    Hope I have answered all your questions. I agree with trying the crancaps, etc. before
    doing surgery (if this is a RV). If she is having UTIs than you should also be testing urine PH as I mention in my blog to adjust crancap dose as needed and try to avoid continuous antibiotics.


  25. My new dog, a 9 month old mixed breed, has been having issues with both vaginitis and recurrent bladder infections since I adopted her from a rescue three months ago. I started researching and I found your blog and realized that she most definitely has an inverted vulva and of course she was already spayed when I got her. After her second infection in as many months I implemented your tips, giving her cranberry supplements and a probiotic everyday and also wiping her at least twice a day. Despite my faithful efforts she once again has a bladder infection less than three weeks after her last one. I’m getting frustrated and feel awful for her. I suppose I’m looking for any advice, I certainly hope this doesn’t become a problem for the entire life of my dog. How horrible for her! If things don’t get better I’m going to seriously consider a vulvoplasty but from what I read they can only be performed after 2 years of age and I cannot imagine dealing with constant infections for the next year. Plus, a vulvoplasty won’t guarantee she’ll be free from infections either.

  26. I forgot to add that her pH is usually around 6 so within the normal range even when she does have an infection. This poor dog has had more problems and the more research I do on recurrent infections the more scared i get, I have read quite a few instances where dogs have infection after infection with increasing antibiotic resistance and there is never a definitive cause found. I suppose that is my worst fear as makes me feel so powerless over everything and after losing my last dog to cancer in January is makes me very, very sad.

  27. Tara, I am sorry you are having such issues.

    Have you done a culture/sensitivity to pinpoint the exact bacteria?

    If not this would be my next step. You need to know the type of bacteria to give the proper antibiotic. This way you can nip this in the bud and continue with crancaps to help prevent further infection.

    You may not have fully gotten rid of it with the antibiotics used in the past and therefore, the infection keeps rearing its ugly head.

    Be sure the vet draws urine from the bladder via needle (cysto) for purest sample for the culture.

    Continue with the probiotics during antibiotics – given 2-3 hours away from meds.

    The other thing I would question: is the vet retesting after meds to be sure the infection is gone? If so are they waiting 3-5 days after meds are finished? If not you could be getting a false negative and the reason the infection seems to be coming back – because it was not cleared up to begin with.


  28. My 10 week old pup has an RV and we tested her urine and she has an infection. We are on our 2nd antibiotic now and for the week I’ve been giving her 800mg of crancaps twice a day and I wipe her everytime after she goes pee. She seemed to be doing better until today she is squatting and nothing is coming out again. This is what first caused me to check her for a UTI. I’m just not sure if shes marking her territory or having trouble peeing. She shows no signs of pain and doesnt have any accidents in the house at all. We go back to the vet on wednesday and I suppose I’ll have her checked again but its really killing my bank account with the 40 dollar charge to test her urine everytime. My vet also doesnt seem to be too up to speed on RV’s either, he told me that dogs never grow out of it through heat cycle and that spaying her would fix it.

  29. Hi Ryan,

    Please find another vet if they are pushing you to spay prior to first heat. Spaying will absolutely not correct a RV. The first heat cycle will in most cases (depending on the severity of the RV). Your vet obviously has no experience with this. I have had 3 pups correct on first heat and have another in heat now in a pet home that will be checked when cycle is over (all swelling goes down) and I will bet the RV is corrected. There are some RVs that are so severe that they will not correct.

    How severe is your pup? Like the pic in my blog? That is not severe IMO.

    Make sure your pup is off the antibiotic for at least 3 days before testing urine again so the meds don’t give you a false negative.

    I would also purchase the PH strips and test her urine at home weekly as I describe in my blog.

    Has your vet done a culture/sensitivity to pinpoint the exact bacteria? She may be on the wrong antibiotic and the reason you see the signs of UTI again.

    I would do the C/S (urine via cystosentisis for pure sample), get the right med to clear up this infection so it does not get out of hand, and continue with the crancaps and PH testing for preventative.

    Good luck


  30. Her vulva is exactly like the one in the picture I don’t have ph strips but I did have a uti protien and nitrate checker and tried that this morning and it came up negative. I’m not sure if it works on dogs though it is for humans but protein is protein I would think.

  31. Checking protein will not tell you if there is a UTI. You can have protein in the urine but that usually means the dog is loosing protein thru the urine. You could have normal PH, specific gravity, color, etc. and still have protein but no UTI.

    I have no idea of nitrate.

    You need the PH strips to test in order to catch an infection in the very early stages.

  32. Okay thank you. Today she is not squatting multiple times anymore. I will get another test done Wednesday. Great blog!

  33. Ryan, I’m glad you like my blog and hope it helps your pup.

    If the vet still finds infection don’t just try another antibiotic. They can reek havoc on the system.

    Please discuss the C/S with sample via cysto with the vet so you can get the right med and get rid of the infection this time. And please read about first appointment of the a.m. for the cysto so you are sure she has a full bladder.

    Hoping your test Wed is negative.

    Also note that the crancaps are best if from fruit concentrate rather than from juice. Not sure where you got your product.


  34. Hi –

    I ran across your blog after searching for recessed vulva as I have an 11 w/o lab pup who has this. I am concerned about this for a couple reasons:

    First we had had her tested for a UTI and it came back negative, the vet recommended putting her on antibiotics anyway because she could have a vaginal infection for UTI…so she is on antibiotics right now. So my issues isn’t with frequent UTI’s (yet – will be doing holstic things to help prevent that) – but more so with trouble housebreaking right now…

    We are having other ‘issues’ that I have read can be associated with having a recessed vulva and I was wondering if you have experienced any of these issues with your dogs?

    1) she seems to urinate while sleeping – sometimes, not all the time – I have read some posts that say this is a symptom of having a RV – have you ever experienced this with?

    2) she seems to go VERY frequently to the bathroom -ex: we’ll take her out to go potty and she does, we’ll bring in her and 5 min later (no exaggeration) she is going on the floor. I’ve read this can also be a symptom because dogs with RV aren’t able to get all the urine out when they go. Again, have you had this trouble?

    3) last question related to breeding – do you recommend NOT breeding a dog with RV? Is this a hereditary thing or just something they have and cannot be passed on?

  35. Hi Melissa,
    I have never had incontinence while awake or sleeping with a RV. I would suspect a UTI but you said you tested for that and negative.

    I have never heard of a RV preventing a dog from fully emptying the bladder. Frequent urination and not emptying the bladder can also be a sign of UTI. If there is pain when urinating they will not fully empty.

    RVs are not proven hereditary but some suspect it is. They are very easy to deal with if you know what to look for and get started on holistic prevention right away (around 6 weeks of age) and and continue thru first heat cycle to correct the RV.

    If your pup does not have a UTI or other infection I would not want to use antibiotic. Did the vet do a vaginal swab to check for infection? Is there a discharge?

    A discharge is often puppy vaginitis which is not a bacteria and antibiotic will not help it.

    If you continue with the antibiotic I would get her on a probiotic like I mention in my blog.

    Since there is no UTI I would suspect something else causing the leaking while sleeping and the peeing 5 min. after being outside. Have they checked her kidey function?


  36. Hi- I have a 14 week old Chesapeake Bay Retriever with a RV. Breeder said she never noticed it (I find that hard to believe-as vet saw it at visit 48 hours after I got the pup at 8 weeks–I’m mad at myself for not noticing it). Two UA’s, a culture and round of antibiotics later, she is still peeing excessively and having pee accidents in the house. I’m not feeling encouraged. I will try the cranberry caps. Is there a canine formula or should I buy from my local health food store? It seems unethical to me for a breeder to charge $1K for a pup and not disclose and/or compensate for something like this.

  37. p.s. I forgot to mention that both of my 14 week old CBR’s UA’s showed USG (urine specific gravity)that was very low. First time it was 1.005, 2nd it was 1.010. Any comments on that? Could that be a link to the inverted vulva/vaginitis? Thanks, joan

  38. One more question: so sorry not to get this all out at once. My Chessie’s mother had pyometra. Could that have anything at all to do with UTI’s in my pup? When I questioned the breeder about that she became angry and defensive. My vet said there is unlikely a connection. It just seems very coincidental to me and I am concerned about the RV not being disclosed by the breeder. Thanks.

  39. Hi Joan,

    There is chance that the breeder has never seen a RV and therefore did not notice it.

    Don’t blame yourself, if you have never seen one you could not have noticed it in your pup.

    If breeder knew about it she should have disclosed it and she should have started pup on crancaps before selling her and given you a bottle to take home. That is what I do.

    You can get crancaps at health food stores, just be sure to get fruit concentrate rather than juice and no sugar added.

    Specific gravity is not linked to the RV per se. But it is part of the UTI which is most likely caused by the RV.

    As for low SG I have never had that. My girls with a clean urinalysis tend to be in normal range or very slightly hi SG

    but did find this info:

    Taken from: see 3rd. question down.

    “There is a broad range of urine specific gravity that can be found in any individual urine sample. It is not at all uncommon for the specific gravity to be low when a dog is drinking normally and the sample is taken during the day. Dogs tend to be urinating more frequently during the daytime and there isn’t much need for the body to concentrate urine. If the first urination of the morning, which should be more concentrated, falls into the lower ranges of specific gravity there is more reason to be suspicious of a problem.”

    Have you asked the vet about the low SG?

    I also found this from site

    “A low specific gravity should be retested to make sure it is a repeatable finding.”

    Since your pup went up from 1.005 to 1.10 that would be a good sign I would think. Ask your vet if they can do an in house USG test to see if she is even higher now. A refractometer is used for this test and most vets have them.

    A continuos low SG can be an indication of Kidney disease but I doubt that in a young pup unless the kidneys are malformed or not functioning properly from birth.

    I had a senior with kidney disease and her SG was usually in normal range.

    I am sorry I can’t help more with the SG but I suggest you talk to your vet.

    I agree with your vet in that your Chessie’s mother having had pyometra would not have anything at all to do with UTI’s in your pup.

    I understand how you feel about the breeder not disclosing the RV but you can get a handle on this if you follow my regime with crancaps and testing urine PH at home. Talk to your vet about this and that you don’t want to keep pumping antibiotic into your pup.

    I hope I have answered all your questions. Please keep me posted on how your pup is doing.


  40. We have an 9 week old lab puppy, Kona….she is amazing and we love her….potty training was not going well, and she was peeing a little bit every 15 minutes…..when we brought hr to the vet and explained that she licks herself a lot, he looked and said that due to the folds of skin she may have surgery someday to fix that.

    My question is: Does the first heat cycle always fix the problem? What are the chances that it will not fix the problem?

    Please let me know your thoughts…..

    She was on the antibiotics and it seemed to be better, for a few days…now she has another one….bringing her back to the vet tomorrow

    Please give me your thoughts…..

  41. in 90 plus cases the first heat cycle corrects the RV so please do give it time.

    Get your pup on the crancaps and test urine ph at home.

    Please do not consider the surgery until you have allowed the first heat cycle to see if it will correct.

    This is my advise, but please do read other people’s responses to my blog.

    If you are still unsure, than email me personally but please wait to spay your RV girl.


  42. LP, we never had a chance to correct Maggie’s “little tucked up vulva” as we didn’t know anything about it until after her spay.

    My vote is to follow Patty’s advice. It was a nightmare at first for us, but no UTI’s for a very long time. And, we’re still on the crancaps.

    Sending lots of luck to you, Jill

  43. I have a 10 week old springer with RV and am wondering how many crancaps and probiotics to administer. She is about 14 lbs.

  44. Hi Lindee,

    I would give one crancap of the Progressive product I use. The one that is 420 mg. This is for preventing UTIs.

    I would also be checking urine PH as I mention in my blog. If PH is elevated give 2 crancaps daily and retest PH in a week.

    The probiotic I would give about 1/4 tspn daily.

  45. Patty I am so glad to know there is someone out there who is making such a differance.I have a Cairn Terrier who had her first litter and one clearly has an IV and much worse than your photo above. I had a hard time finding info on it because I didn’t know what it was called and when I did all the info was gloom and doom. Until I found your sight and I just hope hers isn’t too Severe to correct it’s self! So far she seems fine but I am going to get her started on your Regimen and all, But I guess I am asking who would knowingly take on such a risk what hope do I have of passing this beautiful baby on to anyone? who would be willing to risk their hearts or pocket book for the future. I just find it hard to imagine anyone would want to “risk” putting themselves through that. I would so appreciate seeing a copy of your contract and letter to vet so I can be prepared. Thank you so very much for being here! Thanks Rita (PS I could take a picture and send it if you were interrested in seeing it to give me your opinion?)

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