Excessive skin folds around the vulva can lead to the accumulation of urine and vaginal secretions. A moist, dark environment is created where bacteria and yeast can thrive, resulting in vulvar fold dermatitis (Figure 1). Episioplasty, also known as vulvoplasty, is a reconstructive surgical procedure performed to remove excess skin folds around the vulva to provide better ventilation of the area.
- Licking or scooting
- Foul odor may be present
- Frequent or bloody urination may be noted
- Red irritated skin around the vulva
- Inappropriate urination
- Persistent urinary tract infections
- Physical examination
- Complete blood work
- Bacterial culture or the urine
- Ultrasound of the urinary bladder
- Controlled activity for 2 weeks
- Cold compresses during the first 24–48 hours will aid in decreasing inflammation
- Oral analgesics, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or mild opioids may be recommended
- Surgical sutures are removed 10–14 days after surgery. Most pets are irritated by the surgical wound and need to wear an Elizabethan collar until the sutures are removed.
- Antibiotics may be necessary to control the skin infection.
The prognosis after episioplasty is excellent. Inadequate removal of perivulvar skin may result in persistence of perivulvar dermatitis, and removal of too much perivulvar skin may cause dehiscence due to tension. These complications are avoided with good surgical technique and operative planning.