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Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic Blog

The Ultimate in Body Malfunctions: Paraphimosis in Dogs

Dog with yellow background.

Just like your laptop or vehicle, sometimes the body has a malfunction. It’s a little bit embarrassing, though, when the part of the body not doing what it is supposed to is part of the reproductive system.

Paraphimosis in dogs is not an uncommon occurrence. This is the medical term for when the penis becomes stuck out. When this happens it can be uncomfortable and lead to complications. Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic wants pet owners to know how to recognize paraphimosis in dogs and what to do when it happens. 

The Ins and Outs of Your Pet’s Privates

Being able to understand paraphimosis in dogs means knowing a little bit about your pet’s normal anatomy and function of his private areas.

Most of the time your dog’s penis, or glans, stays neatly tucked inside of a foreskin-like pouch called the prepuce. This externally visible structure keeps the delicate glans protected and moisturized. 

When the penis is needed for reproduction, though, it does emerge from the prepuce. After ejaculation, two internal glands at the base of the penis enlarge helping it to remain extruded for about 15-20 minutes. This is what causes two dogs to tie together after mating. 

Even in neutered dogs, the glans of the penis may remain stuck out for this period of time, especially if the animal is overly excited. If it remains out much longer than that, though, there can be problems. 

Paraphimosis in Dogs

When the glans penis fails to return to its protected position in the prepuce, the condition is called paraphimosis. 

Prolonged exposure of the glans penis can result in drying out of the surface, infection, and swelling. If it is not treated quickly, parts of the penis may even become necrotic or otherwise compromised and the ability to urinate may be affected. 

For these reasons, paraphimosis is a pet emergency. If you notice that your pet’s penis has been extruded for more that 20-30 minutes you can use some lubricant to gently replace it into the prepuce. If you are unable to do so, or if it re-emerges, it is time to seek veterinary help. 

Treating paraphimosis in dogs starts with trying to determine the underlying cause. These can include:

  • Neurological problems
  • Trauma
  • Tumors or other cancer
  • Hair or other foreign material at the base of the penis
  • Abnormal anatomy of the glans or prepuce

Once any predisposing conditions are addressed, the glans needs to be replaced. Removal of any obstructing material and careful lubrication is typically done. Swelling may need to be treated to help with success.

In some cases, surgical correction of the cause may be indicated in order to keep the glans where it belongs.

Paraphimosis in dogs normally has a fair to good prognosis depending on the cause and, as with many conditions, quick action has better results.

No matter what concern you have with your pet, you know them best. If you feel like something is not right, don’t hesitate to call us if you think we might be able to help.