Obsessive Licking Of Vulva

James Glover
by James Glover
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QuestionMy female lab is almost 2 years now and for the past year she has been licking her vulva constantly. I have taken her to the vet 8 times now with new medication each time and she still keeps licking. Two days ago I noticed she was wet and I smelt her and she had peed herself. She also did it again last night. She has always been good for scratching the door to go outside and do her business but it seems that she couldn't control it. The vet says she is very healthy but nobody can tell me why she is doing this. Please help me, I don't know what else to do. (Amy Laycock - Ontario, Canada)

Answer

Among the reasons why any dog may start this habit are abnormal vaginal discharge, urogenital tract infections and Vaginitis (inflammation of the vagina). In most cases, excessive licking may continue to make the condition worse, and often lead to an inflamed vulva. You say that your dog has been on many different medications, so it would seem that your various vets have considered these as possibilities. If your dog had not been previously treated, I would be concerned about the onset of her toilet behavior, because this could be a secondary symptom of whatever was causing the licking.

However, I have to assume that your dog has been thoroughly examined and tested for likely causes, and that her unusual toilet behavior was just a rare slip. My opinion is that while there may have been something wrong with your dog that gave rise to the licking (such as Vaginitis), the behavior is now an obsessive compulsive disorder. I recommend that you consult with your vet to see about getting your dog fitted with an "Elizabethan collar" for several weeks to try and break her behavioral addiction.

Disclaimer: This service is meant to provide advice only and is not meant to replace an appointment with a registered veterinarian. Users should always seek a second opinion. Unfortunately we are only able to answer several questions per week so not everyone gets a published answer. And, unfortunately we can't answer by email.
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