What is Penile Amputation?
Penile amputation is a surgical procedure to remove the penis of a male dog. This can be done in first opinion practice by a skilled surgeon or at a referral center. Penile amputation renders a dog incapable of mating.
Penile tumors are rare and fortunately, penile amputation is rarely required. Additionally, conditions such as priapism or trauma to the penis may respond to prompt medical intervention, and therefore surgery is an option of last resort when damaged tissue is beyond salvage.
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Penile Amputation Procedure in Dogs
The patient is given a full general anesthetic. The sheath and belly is clipped and aseptically prepared for surgery. The surgeon passes a urinary catheter into the urethra. This allows them to identify the urethra, which needs to be sutured in such a way as to be patent in the penile stump to allow the dog to urinate. (An alternative technique is to combine a penile amputation with a procedure, urethrostomy, which creates a stoma in the urethra behind the scrotum).
Depending on the level of the amputation, the sheath may need to be incised to expose the penis. A tourniquet may be applied if bleeding is anticipated to be excessive. The surgeon dissects circumferentially around the penis down to the level of the urethra. Pressure is applied with sterile swabs to reduce hemorrhage.
The soft tissue of the stump is sutured to the urethra. This creates a seal which reduces bleeding and it also ensures the dog has a patent urethra to urinate through.
The tourniquet is removed, the sheath sutured, and the patient woken from the anesthetic.
Efficacy of Penile Amputation in Dogs
This is a highly efficacious surgery which, although a salvage procedure, allows the dog to go on to lead a normal life. When surgery is performed because of cancer, the procedure can remove the tumor and, if done early enough, could prevent spread.
For conditions such as priapism or paramphisosis, prompt action to reduce the erection or replace the penis within the sheath can avert the need for radical surgery.
Penile Amputation Recovery in Dogs
Pain relief following surgery is essential. It's critical the dog doesn't lick or chew the surgical site, and must therefore wear a cone until healing is complete after approximately two weeks. A urinary catheter may be left in place for several days after the surgery, to ease the discomfort and to keep the urethra patent and reduce the risk of stricture formation, at a time when there is considerable soft tissue swelling.
Immediate complications include hemorrhage post-surgery or infection of the operation site. Longer term complications include scar tissue formation which could occlude the urethra and prevent urination.
If recovery is uneventful the dog should be able to function normally by the two-week point.
Cost of Penile Amputation in Dogs
The cost of penile amputation could range from $600 to $2,500. This will depend on whether the procedure was to remove traumatized tissue or as part of a wider surgery to remove bladder stones and perform a urethrostomy. A traumatized penis may require emergency surgery which then involves costs of out of hours services, where an average fee of $200 to $300 for a consultation is normal.
Dog Penile Amputation Considerations
Penile amputation may be the only realistic option for some dogs. If the penis is sufficiently damaged, the dog cannot urinate then emergency surgery is necessary. For those with a penile tumor there is a sense of urgency in order to reduce the risk of spread.
Once performed, penile amputation is permanent. Once the patient is recovered from surgery they can lead a normal life, however, there is a slight risk of a structure forming if scar tissue forms. This may necessitate revisional surgery. In extreme cases euthanasia may be necessary.
Penile Amputation Prevention in Dogs
Transmissible venereal tumors are spread via coitus. This growths can become large and cauliflower like, and there is a risk of secondary spread. Avoidance of coitus vastly reduces the risk of infection, and therefore desexing intact dogs is advisable.
Keeping the hair trimmed from around the sheath can reduce the probability of an erect penis getting trapped and strangulated.
Prompt diagnosis of the underlying cause of bloody urine can prevent bladder stones passing into the urethra and necessitating surgery of the penis to remove stones from the urethra.
Penile Amputation Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
I have had to use my jelly to unroll the death on our dogs penis several times over the last 5 years. I went away for 6 weeks and my adult children didn't pay enough attention to him and when I got home it was pretty bad. It's was almost white in color. I got it back in and shaved his hair. I have been applying antibiotic ointment and giving him anti-inflammatory pills for a week. He seemed better and his penis "linked up" and is staying in, but now he can't hold his urine and I'd spring on everything. I don't have the money for an amputation and at 15yrs old do not think he would make it. Is it time to put him down ? He is blind in 1 eye and the other eye is almost there as well. Just can't make the tough decision, but want to do the right thing.
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my male chihuahua is bleeding very bad through his penis, he's about 8 years old and looks very young for his age.theres no bumps that i could find .i don't know what it could be or how it happened I just answer on what could that be?
Bleeding from the penis may be due to trauma, infection, tumours or inflammation to name a few; without examining Gingersnap’s penis and prepuce (most likely the bleeding is from the prepuce) I cannot give you a diagnosis. You should visit your Veterinarian as injuries to be prepuce may lead to phimosis which may lead to further problems. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
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