Paraphimosis: It’s No Laughing Matter

By Deb Haines

It’s a topic we receive many questions about weekly, and one which leaves many male owners crossing their legs, and the females posting on Facebook about their dogs “lipstick”, “Redrocket “, “Sausage” etc. Folks… PENIS, it’s ok to use the proper name this is a medical learning site.

This condition can be seen in male dogs and cats of any age though we see more presentations of dogs experiencing this unfortunate ailment here in Pet Vet Corner

Paraphimosis: Refers to the dog’s inability to retract its penis back in to the sheath. While many times it doesn’t seem that your dog is currently experiencing any discomfort, Paraphimosis can be a very serious condition.

In most occasions, the dog’s owner notices their pet licking profusely at their penis, or finds they are having difficulty urinating.

Is Paraphimosis a Serious Health Concern?

The inability to retract the penis (paraphimosis) often occurs when the dog has a small opening (orifice), and in many cases is a birth defect. If the dog is unable to protrude the penis (phimosis), it may have swelling, or hairs that are obstructing the penis.

The condition becomes more serious when irritation and dryness occur on the surface of the penis after the glans has protruded for minutes to hours (to days?) and comes into contact with environmental surfaces.

Edema (swelling) will occur as a result of restriction of blood flow back from the head of the penis. This further prevents the glans from retracting and restricts the proper flow of urine through the urethra, which leads to bladder enlargement and discomfort.

This is often caused when the dog’s orifice is not able to retract the penis. It may be due to swelling or from hairs (or other foreign bodies) obstructing the penis. In other instances, it may be caused by a neurological disease or the result of other medical conditions which have not been diagnosed.

**NOTE **…. Paraphimosis warrants veterinary intervention if not resolved quickly. The exposed penis quickly becomes edematous, because its venous drainage is compromised. With continued exposure, the mucosa becomes dry and painful. Self-trauma exacerbates the condition. If recognized early, before severe edema and pain develop, paraphimosis is easily treated.

If you find your pet isn’t able to retract their penis, you can attempt assisting the process by using KY Jelly as a lubricant (easily purchased from a pharmacy) while manually guiding the sheath back over the penis. Be gentle! If you struggle fixing the condition, or if the problem recurs, seek veterinary help as you may cause more pain, or damage to the prepuce (sheath) or penis itself.

You can also try sugar water, and again, gently apply over the penis.

Paraphimosis in dogs can be a real pet emergency, so it is important to know when to intervene and seek a veterinarians help.

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