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Question
We have a 7 mth old German shepherd puppy. She was spayed three weeks ago and has had some swelling and infection due to an allergic reaction to the stitches. The swelling and infection have both reduced with anti-biotics and she can now access her genital area now the collar has gone. We have noticed that she is spending a lot of time licking her own genital area. (Not the surgery closure that's healed, just her genitals). While I know dogs do this to clean themselves, it is getting to be quite long in duration. should we be worried or is it just a case of she can now get there when before she had a big collar on, or is it canine puberty, or possibly worms(she is due a course of anti worming no sign of worms in faeces)?

Answer
Most likely she is catching up on her grooming BUT constant licking can be a sign of irritation and itching, so I would have the vet look her over again for a stray suture or her subcutaneous sutures could be bothering her as well. She doesn't have any down there, but it's an easier place to lick.

How long has the collar been off? There is always the possibility of a discharge as well from the spay that will taper off and go away after a few weeks.

If she doesn't stop the constant licking soon, she will make her vulva swell and that's not what you want either.

I hate to say this but sometimes things are left behind, a piece of cervix, an ovary- which will cause a dog to feel like they are in heat and can even cause a discharge, but it's very minor. Just the same, they will lick lick lick...

If this continues, it's something to think about. I would feel remiss if I didn't mention that it CAN happen, fortunately it's very uncommon!!  

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Jana Connell RVT, CVT

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PLEASE READ BEFORE SUBMITTING TO ME: I am NOT a vet and do NOT diagnose diseases. That is only for a licensed Veterinarian to do. I will give you suggestions and steer you toward calling your vet for help. You can call the vet's office and talk to the technician there or the vet at times. Don't be afraid to call them! If you have a serious issue with your pet please post it to one of the veterinarians in here- I will tell you the same thing in my answer. IF your pet is injured or in an emergency situation, CALL YOUR VET- Do not wait and post in here. Just call the vet's office and get them in to see the vet right away. Critical treatment time is lost if you seek answers here when you should have your precious pet at the vets!! Don't sit at home waiting for an answer when your pet is critically ill or injured!! I can answer most questions about small animal and wildlife care as well as small animal nutrition. I can also answer questions about all phases of dental care for small animals. I DO NOT answer questions about birds (unless it is wildlife or songbirds) or HAMSTERS/GERBILS/CHINS/GUINEA PIGS/REPTILES/FROGS/RABBITS/PET BIRDS OF ANY KIND so please submit these questions to the appropriate sections. I, as well as other experts in here, do NOT do homework questions- that is for YOU to do! Please respect these rules for all of us. Thanks!

Experience

I have over 35 years experience in the field of veterinary medicine. I specialized in small animals and did wildlife rehab for over 25 years, mostly raptors, squirrels and opossums. I am a Small Animal Nutritional Consultant with 6 certificates from Hills Pet Foods, CNM and Purina. I also specialized in Small Animal Dentistry which is a field I truly love.

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Audubon,World Wildlife Federation, American Society of Veterinary Dental Technicians.

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Licensed with California and Oregon, RVT and CVT. Certified Veterinary Dental Technician Have over 550 logged hours of Continuing Education Credits(that means I keep up to date!).

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Nominated for Expert of the Month for the last 5 years.

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