What is Urethral Prolapse Repair?

Urethral prolapse repair in dogs is a surgical procedure. Urethral prolapse occurs when the urethra extends out of the penis tip in male dogs. This surgery is used to remove any infected urethral tissue. 

The goal of a urethral prolapse repair in dogs is to decrease the pain caused by the prolapse. In addition, the surgery also prevents the prolapse from happening again. 

Urethral prolapse repair is the first treatment recommended when it comes to male dogs who are not altered. 

This surgical procedure can be done by your dog’s veterinarian. 

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Urethral Prolapse Repair Procedure in Dogs

There is no real known reason behind urethral prolapse. So, when urethral prolapse is present a veterinarian will want to perform other tests prior to the urethral prolapse repair. These tests may include blood work, urine cultures, radiographs, and/or ultrasonography. 

In addition to tests, the dog should also be catheterized. This will show the veterinarian how much strength and pull its urethra has. 

Once all recommended testing is done, the veterinarian will proceed with the repair. If the dog is not altered, the veterinarian will recommend having the dog altered during the repair. 

Prior to beginning the urethral prolapse repair, the dog is placed under anesthesia. Pain medication and/or antibiotics may also be run through an IV before and during the procedure. 

After the dog is anesthetized, they are placed on their back. The dog’s knees are bent up and out. Once the dog is in position, the foreskin and the surrounding areas are clipped with a surgical blade. The same area is then cleaned with an aseptic. 

When the area is clipped and clean the veterinarian can begin the urethral prolapse repair procedure. First, the veterinarian will force the penis to extrude. Once the penis is extruded out, a catheter is placed in the dog’s urethra. 

With the catheter in place, the veterinarian can begin making their incisions. The first incision is made at the beginning of the urethral prolapse.  This incision is made at an 180 degree angle. During most urethral prolapse repairs, the incision is made with a scalpel. 

During the surgery, the veterinarian doesn’t want the penis to draw back in. In order to prevent this, the area near the mucus membrane isn’t removed all the way. Instead the part that is pulled away is sutured to the sheath of the dog’s penis. 

The remaining prolapsed urethra is then removed. Once the prolapsed urethra is removed, the veterinarian will suture the area that is left. 

Any tissues that are removed should be sent to a lab. The lab will perform histology on the tissue. 

The catheter that was placed prior to the urethral prolapse repair is removed after the area is sutured. Most veterinarians recommend keeping the dog at the clinic at least overnight for monitoring. 

Sutures that are placed are absorbable. This means that the veterinarian should not have to remove them. Veterinarians still recommend patients come back for a two-week follow up to discuss how the dog is doing. The veterinarian will also examine the surgery site during this visit to ensure it is healing. 

Efficacy of Urethral Prolapse Repair in Dogs

A urethral prolapse repair in dogs does initially obtain its goal of removing the prolapse and relieving associated pain. But, over half the dogs who undergo this surgery will have the urethral prolapse occur again. 

Another surgical technique used to treat urethral prolapse is urethropexy. Urethropexy also has a high recurrence rate. Urethropexy is used normally in less severe cases of prolapse. The surgery requires less time than the urethral prolapse repair, which is effective in cases where the dog may be sensitive to anesthesia. 

Urethral Prolapse Repair Recovery in Dogs

Aftercare for a urethral prolapse repair recovery in dogs involves monitoring the dog and limiting their activity. It’s important that the dog doesn’t lick at the incision site. In order to prevent this, an Elizabethan collar should be placed on the dog immediately after surgery. 

For a few days after the surgery, the incision site may bleed some. There may also be some swelling. Veterinarians recommend leash walking your dog for at least 10 days following surgery. Although you may notice a positive change in your dog within days. It is still best to follow through with leash walking. 

Your veterinarian may recommend pain medications to be sent home after the urethral prolapse repair. Although, in most cases, a dose of pain medicine and/or anti-inflammatory is administered after the surgery via an injection and/or IV. 

The sutures placed during an urethral prolapse repair are absorbable. Dogs should still visit their veterinarian around 14 days following the surgery. 

Cost of Urethral Prolapse Repair in Dogs

The cost of the urethral prolapse repair in dogs may cost between $300 and $1,600. Cost will depend on where you live and where the procedure takes place. In most cases, the cost quoted for the urethral prolapse repair includes anesthesia, medications during the procedure, and vital sign monitoring. It also usually includes the cost of any possible aftercare following the surgery. 

Prior to, and after, the surgery you will also incur cost. These costs are associated with veterinarian visits, lab work, urine cultures, or imaging. There may also be costs associated with medication needed before and after the urethral prolapse repair. 

Dog Urethral Prolapse Repair Considerations

Following the urethral prolapse repair, dogs will no longer feel the irritation a prolapsed urethra can cause. This repair is very successful in most dogs. 

As with any procedure, there are risks to having an urethral prolapse repair done in dogs, although the benefits outweigh the risks. The most common risks of this surgery include recurrence of the urethra prolapse and abnormal contraction of the urethra. 

Most dogs recover very well following an urethral prolapse repair. But, over 50% of dogs who undergo the procedure have a recurring urethral prolapse. 

Urethral Prolapse Repair Prevention in Dogs

Preventing the need for an urethral prolapse repair is difficult, since the cause of prolapse is often unknown. In some cases, dogs must have several surgeries to control urethral prolapse. If this happens, although rare, the dog’s penis may need to be amputated. 

Veterinarians believe attempting to control your dog’s sex drive may also help prevent urethral prolapse. Sometimes this can be achieved with hormone medications. But, in most cases, neutering the dog is recommended.