What is Partial Penile Amputation?
In dogs, penile issues can range from insignificant to life-threatening. Defects of the penis may prevent it from exiting or re-entering its skin sheath. This can become very irritating for the dog. Problems like growths on or injuries to the penis can lead to difficult urination or even urinary obstruction. An obstruction is an emergency situation needing immediate medical intervention.
A partial penile amputation can be used as a last resort method to salvage some of the function of the penis for urinary purposes. In dogs with defects, it is often used after a retraction surgery has failed. A partial penile amputation can also be used as cancer treatment, if tumors exist only on the end half of the penis. It is recommended that a surgeon with reconstructive surgery experience and good knowledge of the genital area performs this operation.
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Partial Penile Amputation Procedure in Dogs
Before surgery can be recommended, the cause of penile disfunction will have to be diagnosed. X-rays or ultrasounds can help reveal tumorous growths, fractures and other defects that may not be obvious from the outside of the dog. If the partial penile amputation is planned, blood work will be run prior to the operation to assess if the dog is a good surgical candidate or not. If any lumps are present, a biopsy using fine-needle aspiration will be performed to determine if cancer is present.
The dog will be required to fast for several hours before the surgery. It will then be sedated, and an IV will be placed so that general anesthesia can be administered. A catheter is then inserted into the urethra. A Penrose tube is used to compress the end of the penis to stop all blood flow.
The amputation can be performed one of two ways. The first way uses downward incisions made on a 45° angle to remove a pie-shaped segment of the penis. The stump is then sutured shut and the urethra is splayed open and attached to the stump. The second method used to partially amputate the penis requires a cylinder section of the penis to be cut out. The top of the penis can then be reattached to the stump using sutures.
Efficacy of Partial Penile Amputation in Dogs
A partial penile amputation is very effective in the treatment of severe penile ailments. This last-resort surgery usually corrects the issue permanently while still allowing regular use of the penis for urinary purposes. Breeding will generally not be possible after a partial penile amputation has been completed. If too much tissue death has occurred, or if the tumors present are very large, a full amputation may be required. If 1.5cm or less of the penis is exposed due to defects or paraphimosis, a preputial advancement will be performed instead.
Partial Penile Amputation Recovery in Dogs
The dog should be closely monitored immediately after surgery to ensure that there are no complications from anesthesia. Pain medication will be administered and a prescription will be given to take home with the dog. Antibiotics will also be administered to prevent infection. An Elizabethan collar should be used to keep the surgical area clean and stop the dog from licking or biting at its stitches.
The dog should be kept away from females or any source of excitement to prevent erection. It may take a few days for the dog to resume eating and bowel movements after the operation. A follow-up appointment will be needed to remove sutures. A treatment regime will begin at this time if the dog has been diagnosed with cancer.
Cost of Partial Penile Amputation in Dogs
A partial penile amputation can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $2,500. This is because general anesthesia, diagnostic imaging, and medication all add to the cost of the actual surgery, which may need to be performed by a specialist. The overall price of treatment will increase if the dog needs chemotherapy or radiation therapy to combat cancer.
Dog Partial Penile Amputation Considerations
It is possible for urethral strictures to develop as the penis heals, although this is rare. Dogs may experience difficulty urinating for up to six weeks following the procedure. If dysuria continues after this point, veterinary attention may be needed. It is possible for the surgical site to slowly hemorrhage, leaking blood into the urine. If the dog becomes weak or has pale gums, this can be an indication of a medical emergency. The majority of dogs who receive this surgery are unable to breed once healed. As with all surgeries that use general anesthesia, risks associated with reactions from the sedation exist.
Partial Penile Amputation Prevention in Dogs
To prevent deformations of the penis, dogs who have defects should not be bred. Always request your dog's full family health history when obtaining a the animal. This can help you identify health issues early in their progression. Cancers are often inherited, but environmental factors can increase the likelihood of malignancy. Do not expose your dog to cigarette smoke, car exhaust or any other known cancer-causing agents.
Many measures can be taken to prevent a traumatic injury to the penis. Bright colored vests are available for purchase so that your dog is visible on hunting trips. Do not allow your dog to jump over fences or other potentially sharp objects. Discourage any vigorous play and always monitor your dog when other animals are present.