Merck Manual

Please confirm that you are a health care professional

honeypot link
Professional Version

Recessed Vulva in Dogs


Clare M. Scully

, MA, DVM, MS, DACT, Louisiana State University, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences

Reviewed/Revised Jul 2023
Topic Resources

Recessed vulva is a common condition of canine conformation in which the vulva is at least partially obscured or engulfed by the surrounding skin folds. Recessed vulva is also known as hooded vulva, juvenile vulva, hypoplastic vulva, or inverted vulva.

Pathogenesis of Recessed Vulva in Dogs

Excess skin folds over the vulva predispose to ascending bacterial infections of the urogenital tract.

Epidemiology of Recessed Vulva in Dogs

Recessed vulva has no specific breed disposition, but spayed medium to giant breeds dogs have been shown to be more at risk. The age of onset is typically < 1 year of age. Body weight is a contributing factor; obese body condition will increase the severity of a recessed vulva.

Clinical Signs of Recessed Vulva in Dogs

Clinical signs associated with recessed vulva in dogs include:

  • perivulvar dermatitis

  • urinary incontinence

  • urinary tract infection

  • irritation to the external genitalia

  • pollakiuria

  • vaginitis

  • excessive licking of the vulvar area

  • scooting

  • malodor

  • hematuria

Treatment of Recessed Vulva in Dogs

Recessed vulva in dogs can be managed medically or surgically.

Topical antimicrobial treatment, cleansing and drying agents, or lotions to prevent secondary infections are often unrewarding and does not provide permanent results. Weight loss can help in animals with obese body condition.

Vulvoplasty is a surgical procedure designed to correct the defect by removing the redundant skin to restore normal conformation of the vulva and to improve clinical signs. Urinary incontinence may persist.

quiz link

Test your knowledge

Take a Quiz!