Vaginal discharge in dogs can be a cause for concern depending on its color and the reproductive cycle stage.
What does a clear fluid signify? If your dog is leaking a clear discharge, especially with symptoms such as fever, behavior change, loss of appetite, urinary incontinence, etc., you should get her to the vet for diagnosis and possible treatment of the underlying problem.
This article looks into the causes of vaginal discharge in dogs, identifying normal and abnormal discharge, and the available treatments.
What Is Vaginal Discharge?
Vaginal discharge refers to a fluid that flows from the body through the vulva. Depending on the color of the discharge and the stage of the dog’s reproductive cycle, you can tell whether it’s normal or not. Generally, once you take the dog to the vet, they should be able to diagnose the problem based on the discharge’s color, odor, and consistency.
Here are some of the common discharges.
- Pinkish – This is a normal discharge, usually seen during a dog’s heat period. The color may vary between light pink, pinkish-red, and dark pink.
- Green – This may be normal or abnormal, depending on the season. For example, if seen after labor, that would be okay. However, it could signify an infection if it occurs at other times.
- Bloody – Likewise, a bloody discharge may be normal or abnormal depending on the stage of the reproductive cycle. For instance, the dog may bleed during heat. Otherwise, a bloody discharge may signify an open pyometra or another health problem if she’s not in heat or has just given birth.
- White – A white discharge is usually a sign of an infection.
- Clear – Normal vaginal secretions are clear and mainly released for lubrication purposes. However, a clear fluid could also signify a serious health problem.
What Causes Clear Vaginal Discharge in Dogs?
A clear vaginal discharge may be due to several reasons. From infections to physical defects, injuries, and tumors, the causes can vary widely from case to case.
Let’s look at some of them.
- Urinary tract infection (UTI)
Most prevalent among older dogs, UTIs result from fecal contamination, bladder stones, stress, tumors, etc. Besides a clear discharge, the dog may have symptoms such as blood-stained urine, increased licking of the vagina area, urine incontinence, frequent urination, decreased appetite, etc.
Vaginitis is an inflammation of the dog’s reproductive organs. When it occurs in puppies, it’s called juvenile vaginitis, while adult-onset vaginitis affects dogs past their first cycle.
Vaginitis can result from physical defects, injury caused by foreign objects, viruses, bacterial infection, etc.
Besides leaking a clear fluid, the dog may also have urinary incontinence, increased urination, excessive leaking around the vagina area, foul odor, etc.
- Recessed sexual organs
Also referred to as juvenile or hypoplastic vulva, the condition is a structural defect whereby the surrounding skin folds enclose the vulva. According to research, spayed dogs are more at risk than unspayed dogs. Getting spayed early also predisposes the dogs to the defect.
The enclosed skin accumulates urine, moisture, and dirt, which increases bacterial activity and infections. Besides the clear discharge, you may also notice other symptoms such as frequent urination, scooting, urinary incontinence, excessive licking around the vagina area, etc.
However, as the condition advances, you may notice the discharge turn from clear to blood-stained.
Pyometra is an infection common among unspayed dogs caused by hormonal changes in the reproductive system. In addition to the discharge, the dog may have symptoms such as a swollen abdomen, lack of appetite, increased urination, diarrhea, vomiting, etc.
- Vaginal tumors
Unspayed dogs are more susceptible to vaginal tumors, but even spayed ones can have them. The tumors may be caused by chemical exposure, infections, and age, while some are hereditary.
Besides the discharge, you may notice symptoms such as protruding swellings (tumors), excessive licking of the genital area, etc.
The above are just a few causes of clear vaginal discharges. There could be others, such as metritis, bum glands expression, foreign material in the vagina, and more. Once you take the pet to the vet, a proper diagnosis should be able to identify the cause of the discharge.
How Is Vaginal Discharge Treated?
While it’s normal for your pet to have normal vaginal secretions, you should not shrug off clear discharge, especially if it’s accompanied by other symptoms as discussed above (itchy vagina, urine incontinence, frequent urination, fever, etc.)
Instead, you should get the dog checked by the vet immediately, as some conditions such as pyometra or tumors (cancerous types) can be fatal. Usually, the treatment varies depending on the specific situation, with common options being as follows;
- Urinary tract infection (UTI) – The vet may recommend various medications based on the severity of the UTI. Mainly, the medications include antibiotics and pain relievers. In addition, the vet may administer probiotics to help clear the infection. But generally, the treatment may vary depending on whether the UTI is acute or chronic.
- Vaginitis – Is diagnosed based on symptoms and medical history. Treatment may include medications such as antibiotics, vaginal douches, or surgery (in severe cases).
- Recessed sexual organs – If the dog has a hypoplastic vagina, the vet may recommend surgery to correct the defect.
- Pyometra – There are various treatment options for pyometra, including hormonal therapy (administering hormones) or spaying (removing the uterus and ovaries), depending on your preference.
- Vaginal tumors – Are usually best treated with removal (surgery).
Clear vaginal discharge in your dog is normal, provided that it is the usual secretions. However, in most cases, it signifies an underlying health problem. Suppose you notice your pet leaking clear fluid. In that case, it’s always best to consult a vet to diagnose the issue, especially if accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, urine incontinence, painful urination, itchy vagina, etc.