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Trauma to the Penis/Prepuce

By: PetPlace Veterinarians

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Trauma to the penis and surrounding tissues is a common injury. The penis can be injured during animal attacks, failing to successfully jump over a barricade such as a fence, automobile injuries and trauma associated with mating. Severe bruising and lacerations are the most common injuries to this very delicate and sensitive part of the body. Male cats rarely sustain injury to the penis.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of penile trauma is based on a recent history of a traumatic incident as well as physical signs of trauma. Swelling, bruising and bleeding are common indicators of significant penile trauma. Since the urethra (pathway for urine to exit the bladder) travels through the penis, injury to this part of the penis is also a strong possibility. Diagnosing the extent of the injury is important in order to determine the best and most appropriate treatment. In order to determine if there is any injury to the urethra, a urinary catheter is usually passed. Medical dye may be injected through the catheter to determine if there are any tears or swelling of the urethra. X-rays of the penile area and urinary bladder may be needed.

Thorough examination of the penis is extremely important and may require sedation.

Treatment

Treatment of penile trauma is aimed at correcting the specific problems. Bruising and swelling is generally treated with anti-inflammatory medications as well as time if the urinary system is not involved. Lacerations of the penis usually require suturing or even extensive surgery. Infections of the penis or the surrounding area require antibiotics. Delay in treatment may result in gangrene of the penis. In severe cases, amputation of the penis may be necessary.

Home Care

Home care for penile trauma can be done with minor traumas. Cleaning of the penis with a veterinary approved topical disinfectant can be helpful. Severe trauma however, requires veterinary assistance.

After treatment by a veterinarian, home care of the healing penis is crucial. Since the penis is protected within the penile sheath, extruding the penis at least twice daily to apply medication and to examine for additional problems is necessary. If you do not feel comfortable extracting the penis from the surrounding protective tissue, ask your veterinarian for a demonstration.

During healing, do not allow your pet to come in contact with females in heat. Preventing an erection is important in the healing process. Erections can delay healing, and worse, may even create more trauma.

If your pet is licking or chewing at the penile area excessively, an Elizabethan collar is warranted. Careful observation during urination to detect passage of blood helps to determine if your pet is healing. Some bleeding following trauma is expected but prolonged or excessive bleeding indicates the need for a veterinary examination.

Preventative Care

Preventing trauma to the penis can be difficult but there are a few things you can do to reduce your pet's risk. Neutering of males usually reduces their desire to become involved in animal fights. It will also reduce their desire to mate. If you find your pet "tied" to a female, do not pull them apart. Serious penile trauma can occur when well meaning people forcibly separate a male and female during coitus. Not allowing your pet to roam will also reduce the risk of automobile injuries.

If your pet has been involved in a traumatic incident and penile trauma is suspected, prompt veterinary care and diligent home care can result in full recovery.

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