GO!

question about vulvar dermatitis treatment

This forum is for dog lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your dog.

  
Cricket- 2007-2011

I'm a fighter.
 
 
Barked: Tue Aug 10, '10 4:27pm PST 
Hi everybody...I hate that this has to be my first post here, but we've been dealt some pretty heavy blows lately.

Our dog, Cricket, was diagnosed with severe bilateral hip dysplasia and chronic vulvar dermatitis yesterday. Cricket is only two; we suspect she is part Dutch Shepherd but that's just a guess. It has been less than a year since she last saw the vet in Atlanta. We moved to Pocatello a couple of weeks ago and I took her in after noticing a limp after exercise and increased licking of her hind end.

After digesting those bits of info, we decided to tackle what we can first: the dermatitis. The doctor recommended surgery to reduce the folds but told us the inflammation and current infection need to be cleared up for at least a week before they can do the surgery. He gave us a topical cream, EnteDerm, and told us to clean and dry the area and apply the cream three times a day. But Cricket won't let us get ANYWHERE near it. She'll tolerate a VERY gentle touch for about 5 seconds...then she either frantically squirms/twists away and begins licking maniacally or growls/snaps at us, which is not a usual behavior for her (she is exceptionally gentle). My husband and I have taken turns trying to hold her in various ways, but she's so tender there she just can't tolerate our attempts at care.

Anybody have any tips on how to dry/clean/treat this area so she can get ready for the surgery? Any help is extremely appreciated. I'm sure I'll be back with dysplasia questions eventually, but I just want our girl to feel better. Thank you!!!
[notify]
Rexy

I dig in mud- puddles!
 
 
Barked: Thu Aug 12, '10 10:27pm PST 
Oh Cricket, I feel your pain and frustration!!

So sorry to hear about the diagnosis, that's rough.

We're currently dealing with what our vet thinks is perivulvar dermatitis with Rexy. It's been frustrating to say the least....

We've been trying to get this under control since March, 2 rounds of antibiotics later, medicated creams, medicated shampoo, more washes than I care to remember...

Just this past Tuesday was our latest appt. The vet put Rexy under and had a better look at the area (Rexy does not like the vet one bit), clipped the fur around her vulva, gave it a very thorough scrub, did a more indepth manual exam, took a look at her bladder with ultrasound to check for stones or growths, and also took a sterile urine sample.

She told us that the "bum tuck" surgery as she called it, may be what we ultimately end up doing, but we're not quite there yet.

Right now we are washing with a medicated shampoo every evening, applying Fuciderm gel (contains steroids) twice daily, then applying zinc diaper rash cream about 30 min later to wick away moisture.
Rexy is coned unless she is being walked or under activities where she is under direct supervision.
Oh, and we also wipe/pat her dry after she pees (much to my husband's complete and utter dismay and shock).

What have they done for Cricket so far? Why are they recommending the surgery right off the bat? Has this been an ongoing problen?

As to her not letting you touch/clean her vulva, have you considered a muzzle? Rexy is generally good about the cleaning routine, but lately as the infection has worsened, she has gotten fussier, and frankly, I feel it's easier and less stressful on everyone involved if I just muzzle her for the minute and a half, and have it over and done with.
Rexy tones down her reaction a LOT as soon as the muzzle is on.

We have a nylon muzzle, and we spent some time desensitizing Rexy to it before putting it on for a cleaning. (treat for looking at muzzle, then treat for sniffing it, treat for her touching it, treat for you touching it to her nose....building up to having it over her muzzle for a second, then three or four, etc).

Edited by author Thu Aug 12, '10 10:34pm PST

[notify]
Cricket- 2007-2011

I'm a fighter.
 
 
Barked: Fri Aug 13, '10 9:32am PST 
Oh no! Poor Rexy! It's such a frustrating problem...you know, I'd seen dogs who had to stop mid-walk to frantically lick their "parts" before, but I had no idea what the cause was. I just thought they had poor manners. laugh out loud Not so funny anymore, is it?!

I hadn't thought about a muzzle...that might be a possibility. Right now our instructions are very similar to yours: clean/wipe, treat with ointment (in our case, Entederm) repeat. Does the diaper cream seem to do the trick for drying? Cricket can hardly tolerate even a gentle wipe/touch to keep her dry.

The problem is that my husband travels for work and is gone 3-4 nights/week. When he's not home, it is pretty much IMPOSSIBLE for me to hold her front end down while addressing her rear end. She twists and turns like a fish (but no more snapping, thank goodness). I also can't get the cone around her head tightly enough by myself. Unfortunately, we just moved to this state, and this isn't quite the kind of condition you can ask your new neighbors to help you with! shock

As for surgery sooner rather than later: Cricket's condition is really affecting her quality of life. It's hard for her to walk, which is just pitiful. The vet can't do surgery until we get the current inflammation cleared up, but we need to do it relatively soon because she has some even larger surgery looming in her future (double hip replacement. Yes, I realize I sound like a crazy pet lady when I say that. I can't tell you how many times I've heard "It's just a dog!" in the past few days) and she can't have it if there is any further risk of the vulva becoming reinfected. Blah, blah...

I think I might take your advice about the muzzle...and I'll definitely ask about diaper cream! Tell Rexy I hope she feels much better soon, and thank her for the help! My husband comes home this afternoon and we're BOTH going up to the vet for further advice/help. If I learn anything new I'll let y'all know.

Edited by author Fri Aug 13, '10 9:35am PST

[notify]

Allee Oop!!!

I love my Mommy
 
 
Barked: Fri Aug 13, '10 12:10pm PST 
Ah poor doggie. We wish you the best of luck.
[notify]
Rexy

I dig in mud- puddles!
 
 
Barked: Fri Aug 13, '10 12:36pm PST 
Yes, it IS a frustrating problem and not really one you can talk to anyone about, you know? When people see her with her cone on I just tell them she's having "girl issues" and leave it at that lol. If they want more info, I'll tell them what's up, but it's generally not something most people want to talk about or are comfortable talking about...

I hadn't thought about a muzzle...that might be a possibility. Right now our instructions are very similar to yours: clean/wipe, treat with ointment (in our case, Entederm) repeat. Does the diaper cream seem to do the trick for drying? Cricket can hardly tolerate even a gentle wipe/touch to keep her dry.

The muzzle makes life sooo much easier for us. And it's essential when we're at the vet. Rexy would definitely bite the vet if given a chance...not that I really blame her, it's a sensitive area to be poked and prodded at the best of times, never mind when the dog is actually hurting and stressed....

The diaper cream along with the Fuciderm gel seems to have made a difference, and what made an enormous difference was having the fur trimmed short.

Has the vet put her on antibiotics at all?

Since you're having such a tough time even getting a good look at the area and she's sore enough that it's impedes walking, it might be worthwhile to ask the vet if they should sedate Cricket to trim the fur, get a really really good cleaning done, and get the first application of ointment on there. Maybe that would dull the pain/discomfort enough so that she would be more a bit more okay with you cleaning the area.

With Rexy, the gel diaper rash cream made a difference in just a few days. Even on the first day, a lot of the redness was gone. But again, the fur being gone has made an enormous difference. I wish like heck the vet had done that on our first visit!!!

The problem is that my husband travels for work and is gone 3-4 nights/week. When he's not home, it is pretty much IMPOSSIBLE for me to hold her front end down while addressing her rear end. She twists and turns like a fish (but no more snapping, thank goodness). I also can't get the cone around her head tightly enough by myself. Unfortunately, we just moved to this state, and this isn't quite the kind of condition you can ask your new neighbors to help you with!

That sucks that you're on your own for a lot of this, that really makes it tough!

How is Cricket's cone fastened on?

Rexy's cone has an older, thinner collar of hers through the loops, so no gauze tying it in place or anything like that.

If the cone is such a pain, maybe looking into cone alternatives would be an idea? Especially if you are looking at significant recovery time (esp the hip replacement surgery) while wearing a cone.

We ordered a "Bite Not" collar earlier this week (through an online source as no one in Canada seems to sell it...); this collar is basically a cervical collar that wraps around the neck and prevents the dog from turning to lick etc. We got tired of having Rexy smash her cone into everyone and everything...and since it's looking like this might be more of an on-going thing...

As for surgery sooner rather than later: Cricket's condition is really affecting her quality of life. It's hard for her to walk, which is just pitiful. The vet can't do surgery until we get the current inflammation cleared up, but we need to do it relatively soon because she has some even larger surgery looming in her future (double hip replacement. Yes, I realize I sound like a crazy pet lady when I say that. I can't tell you how many times I've heard "It's just a dog!" in the past few days) and she can't have it if there is any further risk of the vulva becoming reinfected. Blah, blah...

No, you are most definitely not a crazy pet lady!! laugh out loud
I would hazard a guess that most dogsters would think you just sounded like a concerned pet parent doing your best to make your dog well. smile

Yes, definitely keep us in the loop if you find out anything new.
Good luck at the vet today!

ETA
Just thought of something, if you're needing someone to help with squirmy Cricket when you need to do a cleaning, would it be possible to hire a petsitter to come in and help, even if it's every other day? I'm sure they get requests to medicate pets in their care, and if you're needing their help on an ongoing basis, they might be willing to cut you a deal....

Edited by author Fri Aug 13, '10 12:39pm PST

[notify]
Cricket- 2007-2011

I'm a fighter.
 
 
Barked: Fri Aug 13, '10 1:05pm PST 
Thank you so much! This has really been a boon of information for me. I don't know if it's a compliment to say that you're Cricket's vulvar dermatitis guru, but there it is. laugh out loud

Seriously, you've given me a lot to think about/try out, and I really appreciate it. Tell Rexy hi.
[notify]
Cricket- 2007-2011

I'm a fighter.
 
 
Barked: Fri Aug 13, '10 1:10pm PST 
Thank you, Allee.
[notify]
Rexy

I dig in mud- puddles!
 
 
Barked: Fri Aug 13, '10 1:13pm PST 
I'll take it as a compliment! big laugh

I'm glad that this has been helpful. It's such a crappy thing to deal with, and we were finding really limited info online (which I find odd, as according to our vet this kind of problem is not uncommon in dogs), that if me sharing what we've had to do and are dealing with as helped you, then that's super!

I'll give Rexy a scritch for you, please do the same for Cricket!

One day, the girls will be "normal" again down there!! I swear when that day comes, I'm going to throw Rexy a party!
[notify]