Treating a Dog Penis Infection

Summary:

Like any skin area, dog penis infection can occur in the penile area. The penis has a sheath or skin that folds over the top. While a small amount of green or yellow discharge is normal, the entire skin area can become infected. The area under the sheath or dog foreskin in particular is prone to infection (also called Balanoposthitis, which refers to inflammation of the canine penis or testes). Inflammation alone on the skin that covers the penis (preputial cavity) or the penis itself may heal itself in dogs that are sexually mature.

Dog Penis Infection
Signs of a Dog Penis Infection
Source: Dog Health Guide - Reader Q&A Submission

Overview of Causes of Dog Penile Inflammation

Severe cases of inflammation can be caused by:

  • Allergy
  • Injury or trauma
  • Foreign objects
  • Phimosis (where the prepuce cannot draw back to expose the penis)
  • Bacterial dog penis infection
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Signs of Canine Penile Infection

An infected penis will bother a dog and cause the dog to want to lick the penile area. The discharge may also smell and produce a foul odor. Swelling and pain are rare in cases of infection, and are more indicative of an injury to the area.

If you see discharge, be sure to see a veterinarian. The Vet will prescribe antibiotics based on the type of bacterial infection identified. Any hair will be clipped away from the opening of the prepuce. The Vet will flush the preputial cavity with saline or a mild antiseptic. If a dog has not been neutered, it may be recommended in order to reduce any secretions from the preputial area.

Canine Herpes Virus

If a Vet suspects that the herpesvirus is the cause, he or she will do a blood test to confirm the diagnosis (viruses are not treatable). Note that during intercourse, a male infected dog penis can transmist infection to the female.

In terms of herpesvirus and dog breeding, it can cause a female bitch to lose the first litter of puppies. Afterward, the female will develop an immunity to the herpesvirus. A vaccine is not available in the U.S. for the virus, but is available in Europe.

Dog Testicles Infection

Note that the testicles can also become infected (called Orchittis). Infection can result in infertility. Common causes are dog bites, wounds, lawn or other chemicals, or burns. A canine testicle infection can also be caused by bacteria that spread from the prostate or the bladder.

To prevent problems, if a dog is bitten or injured on the testicles, see a veterinarian for early and immediate treatment.

Symptoms of a Canine Testes Infection

  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Licking the scrotum
  • Enlarged testicles
  • Hard testicles
  • Stilted walk or gait
  • Spread legged walk

Treatment

The veterinarian will take a culture to determine the type of bacteria causing the problem. Bacteria-specific antibiotics are used to cure the issue. Swelling can be reduced with a cold pack or with corticosteroids or NSAIDs. One side effect of treatment may be an inability for the testicles to produce sperm.

If infection continues, a Vet may recommend that the dog testicles be removed.

References and Resources for Further Reading:

Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook
Eldredge, Debra M; Carlson, Liisa D'; Carlson, Delbert G; Giffin, James M.

Merck Manual for Pet Health

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