Why is My Dogs Penis Bleeding?

A dog that licks his penis excessively or has blood in the urine should be seen by a veterinarian for a detailed examination and specific treatment. A variety of conditions affecting the prostate gland, circulatory deficiencies and blood clotting disorders can cause bleeding from the penis or prepuce.

A normal dog penis produces smegma, a lubricating discharge that is odorless. A bloody discharge from the penis can be caused by trauma or priapism.

Causes

There are a few reasons your dog may be bleeding from his penis. These include wounds to the penis or prepuce, conditions affecting the urinary tract (infections, bladder stones, etc), blood-clotting disorders and diseases of the prostate gland. Excessive licking of the prepuce or penis is also not normal and can lead to infection or paraphimosis.

In intact male dogs, the most common cause of blood dripping from the penis independently of urination is due to a disease of the prostate gland. These can range from inflammation or enlargement of the prostate to prostate cancer. The first thing your vet should do is take a urine sample, often from the urethra with a special cup but sometimes directly from the bladder. This will allow your vet to see if there are any crystals, stones or bacteria in the urine that could be the cause of leaking from the penis.

Your vet will palpate the prostate to check its size and position. They may also run further tests based on the results of the urine sample including a urinalysis and radiographs. These tests will determine if the bleeding is related to an infection in the bladder or prostate, and if so, which disease it is. They will also look at the severity of the condition and what treatments are available to your pet.

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Symptoms

A dog’s penis, even when not erect, is usually pink or red and may look a little darker purple during an erection. Some yellow-white or slightly green-tinged discharge from the prepuce or on the end of the penis is also normal and called smegma.

If the discharge has a foul smell or appears bloody or red, it’s not normal and needs to be looked at by your veterinarian. He or she will examine the penis, the urethra and the prepuce for signs of inflammation, foreign material lodged in the area, abscesses, tumors and other conditions. A blood sample or smear may be taken from the area to check for infection and blood traces.

Bleeding from a dogs penis is not normal but it can be related to problems with the urinary tract (kidneys, tubes leading from the kidneys called ureters, bladder and prostate gland) or the reproductive system (penis, vagina and ovaries in females). In intact males bleeding from the penis could be due to diseases of the prostrate gland such as inflammation, enlargement, infections and tumors. It’s very important to get a thorough examination and specific treatment from a veterinarian as soon as possible. This can prevent serious complications such as difficulty in urinating and permanent damage to the penis. Veterinary care should start with recording a detailed history, performing a full physical exam and taking a complete blood count, platelets and urine sample.

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Treatment

A dog’s non-erect penis is normally enclosed by his prepuce and may appear enlarged due to the condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or because of a lump, bump or growth in this area. A small amount of yellow-white or slightly green tinged discharge from the prepuce is normal. This is the normal smegma that is made of dead cells and other material that collects within the prepuce.

If a dog is bleeding from his penis or if blood is seen in the urine (even if it is not visible on the exam table) then immediate veterinary attention should be sought. The veterinarian will need to perform a thorough examination and will need a complete health history for the dog.

A veterinarian will gently extrude the dog’s penis (to examine the urethral orifice which exits at the head of the penis). This can be done with an anal purse string suture, a urethral retraction procedure or if a catheter is placed into the bladder via a urethrotomy incision a guide wire and then a 5-mm rigid endoscope cannula for a 2.7-mm cystoscope can be advanced over this into the urethra.

Once a specific diagnosis has been determined the underlying cause will be treated appropriately. This may include antibiotics for infections, dietary supplements to reduce urinary tract problems like calculi accumulation or prostatic enlargement and natural remedies that promote prostate health and strengthen the kidney.

Prevention

In older entire males (not neutered), bleeding from the penis can be a sign of prostrate problems. This can range from an inflammation or enlarged prostate to something more sinister like cancer. When this occurs it’s important to get the dog seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. The vet can diagnose the problem with a physical exam as well as blood work. If the condition is due to a urinary tract infection or prostatic disease then antibiotics will be prescribed as needed. If the issue is something more serious then getting the dog neutered may be needed.

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The veterinarian will check for foreign bodies lodged in the prepuce, lacerations and the presence of cysts, abscesses or blisters. Changes in appetite, behavior and elimination may also help identify the cause of the problem. Urinalysis and radiographs will also be performed.

It’s normal for dogs to have occasional erections. However, if the dog’s penis stays erect and visible for more than a few hours and can’t be retracted back into the prepuce then this could be an emergency situation. This is called paraphimosis and it can lead to difficulty urinating and permanent damage to the penis. If the dog is not neutered the veterinarian will discuss castration as a treatment option. This will prevent the hormones that are causing the problem.

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