ISSN 2398-2969      

Vagina: discharge

Clapis

Introduction

  • Vaginal discharge is an uncommon presenting sign in the rabbit. 
  • Discharge may originate from the vagina, cervix or uterus.
  • Cause: vaginal discharge is not a feature of sexual receptivity in the doe and thus any vaginal discharge should always be considered abnormal. Uterine infection, vulvitis/vaginitis, neoplasia, myxomatosis. Greenish to brown vaginal discharge may be seen with dystocia or retained fetuses.
  • Signs: vaginal discharge, vulval swelling/inflammation or wounds, abdominal distension.
  • Diagnosis: physical examination, diagnostic imaging, hematology, biochemistry, cytology, bacteriology.
  • Treatment: ovariohysterectomy, antibiotics.
  • Prognosis: good if treated early. 

Presenting signs

  • Mucopurulent or mucosanguineous discharge present at the vulva. 
  • Greenish to brown vaginal discharge may be seen with dystocia Dystocia or retained fetuses.
  • Frequently associated with anorexia Anorexia leading to gastrointestinal stasis Gastric dilation and stasis/ileus Gastrointestinal: ileus, depression, weight loss Weight loss, and abdominal distension. 
  • Reduced fertility may be apparent.

Age predisposition

  • Older females are more likely to develop reproductive tract disease.
  • Highest incidence in females over 3-4 years old.

Sex predisposition

  • Females only. 
  • Breeding animals more likely to be affected but pyometra and endometritis can develop in virgin does. 
  • Neutered females highly unlikely to develop uterine or vaginal disease, but uterine stump disease possible if ovariohysterectomy is not complete and remnant uterine tissue left in situ.

Breed predisposition

  • All breeds are at risk.

Public health considerations

  • Some bacteria associated with uterine infection may have zoonotic potential, eg Pasteurella multocida Pasteurella multocida, Chlamydophila, Listeria monocytogenes, Brucella melitensis, Salmonella spp Salmonella spp.

Cost considerations

  • Surgical intervention often required (ovariohysterectomy Ovariohysterectomy) plus aggressive supportive care.

Special risks

  • Rabbits with uterine infection may have a grossly enlarged uterus which can compromise respiration via pressure on the diaphragm. 
  • Affected rabbits may be septicemic, dehydrated and a poor anesthetic risk if not stabilized first.

Pathogenesis

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Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Segura P, Martinez J, Peris B et al (2007) Staphylococcal infections in rabbit does on two industrial farms. Vet Rec 160 (25), 869-872 PubMed.
  • Johnson J H & Wolf A M (1993) Ovarian abscesses and pyometra in a domestic rabbit. JAVMA 203 (5), 667-669 PubMed
  • Hofmann J R Jr & Hixson C J (1986) Amyloid A protein deposits in a rabbit with pyometra. JAVMA 189 (9), 1155-1156 PubMed
  • Flatt R E (1969) Pyometra and uterine adenocarcinoma in a rabbit. Lab Anim Care 19 (3), 398-401 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Mancinelli E & Lord B (2014) Urogenital System and Reproductive Disease. In: BSAVA Manual of Rabbit Medicine. Eds: Meredith A & Lord B. BSAVA, UK. pp 191-204.
  • Oglesbee B (2011) Vaginal Discharge. In: Blackwell’s Five-Minute Veterinary Consult: Small Mammal. 2nd edn. Wiley-Blackwell, UK. pp 536-537.

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