Male Dog Problems and Care


Male Dog Problems and Care

Bleeding from penis - German Shepherd

Question: Dear Dr. Michael, I am having a problem with my GSD "K-9". He is 3 years old and for about 4 months ago he was used as a stud. Now for abut 2 1/2 weeks ago he started to bleed, red fresh blood drops from his penis. I took him to the vet and I got some antibiotic and she gave him anti-inflammatory injection. He stopped bleeding after 3 days while taking the antibiotic. 2 days after the 7 days couse was finished he started again and with more blood droppes than before. Took him again to the vet same antibiotic and anti-inflammatory tablets. The vet wanted to check K-9 with some instruments (don;t know the name) but they don;t have it here. The vet said since it is red blood it must come from the end not further in, which makes sense. The vet is not able to do any further tests that's is the reasons for why I contact you. What could it be? What should I look for? (He dose not have pain when he is urinating and there is no blood in the urine). Please note I do like my vet she has helped me in many situations but this time I'm a little worried since it dose not seam to clear up and she has not got the facilities needed. Looking forward to your advise. Thanks, Maggie

Answer: Maggie- There are two things to think about when bleeding occurs from the penis. The first is an injury to the penis or some other part of the urinary tract leading to the hemorrhage. The second is a bleeding disorder that is affecting the entire dog but showing up as bleeding from the penis. It is important to note that occasional instances of small amounts of bleeding from the penis (several drops but enough to be noticeable) are not highly unusual in intact male dogs and often do not seem to cause any significant problems. This is especially true when they are aware of a female in heat but not able to breed with her. It sounds like you are seeing more bleeding than this, though. The most common problem leading to bleeding in intact male dogs is almost certainly prostate disease. The prostate can be palpated in dogs by rectal palpation and if the prostate is greatly enlarged it would increase the likelihood of prostatic problems as the cause of the observed bleeding. The antibiotics are a good choice in this case. Prostate infections are often poorly responsive to antibiotics and they must be used for long periods of time in some dogs to get control of the infections --- it is not unusual to have to use antibiotics for 6 to 8 weeks. Prostate hypertrophy in the absence of infection also occurs and can lead to bleeding from the penis. I think that this is probably the major reason that we see occasional bleeding episodes in some male dogs who never really seem to be ill from the problem. This is especially true of young male dogs who are sexually frustrated by the presence of a female in heat. Injuries to the penis are not too unusual in dogs that have learned to masturbate in response to sexual frustration. It is a good idea to examine the penis for signs of injury whenever bleeding is seen. We have also seen injuries to the prepuce that were difficult to locate, including one dog who had managed to fun over a stick in just the right path to push it several inches into his sheath, where it caused a great deal of hemorrhage but was not visible. Bleeding disorders are not especially common in dogs but German shepherds are one of the breeds that is prone to these problems, since there is a higher than usual rate of hemophilia in GSDs. Checking for a bleeding disorder with a coagulation profile or bleeding time tests would be reasonable. It does help to have access to an ultrasound machine when the prostate is suspected to be the problem but it is reasonable to just treat for the problems that can be treated for and hope for the best when access to this type of testing is limited. Good luck with this. Mike Richards, DVM 3/10/2001

Enlarged Prostate - abscess or cancer

Question: Dear Dr. Mike, I have a 14 year old male Border Collie with an enlarged prostate (approximately 4 times its normal size). He was neutered at 9 years of age and is in remarkable health for his age. Last Thursday he started having problems with urinating and defecating. Saturday morning I took him to my vet who immediately sent me on to the emergency clinic. My dog spent Saturday and Sunday at the e-clinic with a catheter in and with tests being run, x-rays were taken and antibiotic were administered. Monday morning he went back to my vet, still on the catheter. Urethra and bladder blockage, due to stones) have both been eliminated and the efforts are now is focused on the enlarged prostate. All tests (blood, urine, urethra scraping, etc.) have come back without a conclusive conclusion as to the reason for the swelling. It might be an abscess, it might be cancer, it might be an infection (although after several days of antibiotics a 2nd x-ray showed no change in the size of the prostate). At this point I am at a total loss. The two options I seem to be left with are euthanasia or an ultra sound and biopsy of the prostate to determine if it is indeed cancerous (approx. $400). Obviously if it is cancer the honorable thing to do (based on my dogs age) seems to be euthanasia. I have complete confidence in my Vet, but at the same time I recognize the limits of a general practice Doctor when it comes to oncology issues. I guess my questions would be: 1) Is prostate cancer common in older male dogs and if so is treatment even advisable at 14 years old? 2) Should I accept my doctor's current belief that it is cancer (none of the tests have been positive) and move forward with euthanasia without the biopsy? 3) Is it advisable or even humane to treat prostate cancer in a 14 year old dog 4) What is the most common form of doing a biopsy on the prostate. 5) If it is an abscess or infection that is resistant to antibiotics is surgery our only other option and is this even advisable on an otherwise healthy 14 year old dog? All of my good intentions will only give him a few months or a year or two at most, but I don't want to look back and wonder if give up before it is time to do so. My dog is bright eyed and energetic for his age, but I get the impression that my vet feels that at this time euthanasia is the right thing to do, although to come right out and tell a loving pet owner that the time has come to put his friend and companion to rest has got to be the hardest part of his job. Thank you for your time and your response. Sincerely, Chuck

Answer: Chuck- I think that if you just go on statistical probability, cancer is the most likely cause of a prostate enlargement of this size in a dog in your border collie's age range. Especially if there is no other sign of infection, like elevations in temperature or white blood cell count and no sign of bacteria, pus or blood in the urine. It is very hard to completely rule out the possibility of an abscess without a biopsy but cancer seems more likely with the medical history you have provided. Treating for prostate cancer this severe usually requires some sort of radical surgery. The favored one, at the present time, seems to be removal of the prostate and anastamosis (joining) of the bladder and colon, so that urine is deposited into the colon and excreted from there with the stool. This is not likely to be curative for the cancer, as it is likely to have spread beyond the prostate but it does provide some additional time with reasonable quality of life. How much time varies depending on where else the tumor is. There are a several things to think about as you try to decide what to do next. If you accept the possibility that this is a cancer, X-rays of the chest would be a good idea. Tumors often spread to the chest and they are relatively easy to see on X-rays of the chest. If this is a prostate cancer and it has already spread, the prognosis would be poor with any treatment option. Carefully palpating the regional lymph nodes might also give some indication of whether a tumor has spread. A biopsy is necessary, not just to decide if this is cancer or something else, but also to decide what type of cancer. This could be a prostatic adenocarcinoma or a transitional cell carcinoma or possibly another type of cancer. Knowing which one it is will enable your vets to make the best possible plan. I think that surgeons would advise you that the quickest way to an answer and treatment is to do surgery and get biopsy samples along the way. I think that internal medicine specialists would lean towards an ultrasound guided biopsy. I think that the real difference is whether or not you are prepared, right at the moment of surgery, to move on to the next step. If you really would consider a major surgical procedure at this time, then just going for it might be the best option. Abscesses do sometimes require surgical drainage and tumors are probably best treated surgically, although chemotherapy to try to gain comfort is also a possibility. You have to evaluate the whole patient. No matter what you do, you won't have a new or younger dog. You have a fourteen year old dog with all the same problems that were present before this one particular problem occurred. If he is in good enough shape, otherwise, to make it reasonable to expect a year or two more of life, then it is easier to contemplate a surgery that is quite extensive. If you know that there are other problems that are making your border collie's life less than pleasant, then contemplating a major surgery or prolonged chemotherapy isn't as easy. It sounds like you think he is in pretty good shape, which is helpful if you do go for treatment. Quality of life is very hard to evaluate before attempting surgery or chemotherapy, because not all patients respond in the same way. Surgery would definitely fit in the "major" surgery category and at least a few weeks of recovery would have to be anticipated. Chemotherapy would be life long at this point, probably. Some dogs do really well with chemotherapy and others don't. I know of no good way to know who is going to have problems in advance. However, chemotherapy can be stopped at any time. Lastly, cost has to be factored in. Surgery and chemotherapy are both expensive. If you can't afford at least two thousand dollars then it might not be a good idea to start down those paths. Either choice could cost more than that, as well. It is not easy to let money be a deciding factor but it has to be at times. Most vets don't think that they should make a decision to euthanize a pet for a pet owner and often only discuss euthanasia as one of several options, even if they think it is the best option. It is just such a difficult topic since differences of opinion about when and even if to consider euthanasia vary widely among clients. I will tell people what I think only if they ask me point blank or if I really think a dog is suffering with little to no chance of recovery. If this just makes you more confused, please feel free to write me again to ask for clarification. Mike Richards, DVM 2/4/2000

Penis unable to retract

Question: Hi dr Richards I just notice that My dog the silky terrier, 12+ years, m, (who has kidney problems) - his penis is stuck out and hard for the past 2 days. He has no other symptoms. Is there anything wrong with it. He sometimes licks his penis. Thanks a lot. Lily

Answer: Lily- You do have to take this problem seriously. Usually this happens because the bulbous glands of the penis have managed to engorge outside of the prepuce, which makes it difficult, or impossible, for the penis to retract. This can lead to problems if the situation isn't corrected. Often, we have to anesthetize the dog, lubricate the penis and sheath well and then use traction sutures to move the prepuce back up and over the penis. Sometimes it is even necessary to surgically widen the preputial opening. We try to avoid doing this, if at all possible, though. If the opening is too wide, the tip of the penis may stay extended and this appears to be pretty irritating to it. This is important enough to try to find an emergency veterinary care facility if you can not contact your usual veterinarian over the weekend. Mike Richards, DVM 4/2/2000

Difference in the size of testicles

Question: Dear Dr. Mike, I wrote to you a couple week ago about our Lab Champ. He had a lump on his nipple. With your advise of antibiotic and I did soak it in warm warm it had almost disappeared. Its down to the size of a dime and you can feel all around it. I do have a new concern with him that I have just noticed. His testicles one seems to be smaller than the other with the larger hanging lower. The vet did feel them and said there are no lumps and they are smooth and not to worry unless they suddenly change. I would like your opion, is this something to worry about. He's going to be 12 in June and in good health. except for a few lumps ,and a happy dog. Thank You, Linda

Answer: Linda- I would worry if my dog had enough difference in the size of his testicles that I could detect it. When one testicle has a tumor that is producing excessive amount of hormones it will often cause the other testicle to decrease in size. This should be carefully monitored and if you become certain that the size difference is certain, I honestly think it would be best to consider castration to be sure that there is not testicular cancer. You do have to factor in his age, but this is a relatively minor surgery so unless cost is a major concern I think it is best to err by removing a normal but small testicle instead of waiting and making the error of leaving a testicle with a malignant tumor long enough for it to spread somewhere else. Your vet may have good reason to believe it is best not to consider surgery so be sure to consider his or her advice carefully, since my advice can't include an evaluation of Champ's overall health status. Mike Richards, DVM 3/28/2000

Considering prostate surgery

Q: dr. mike: a friend of mine has a dog with a large "mass" developing in the prostrate area. after monitoring its growth for some months, her vet has finally indicated that it should be removed. he also indicated that the prostrate area is a difficult area for surgery. how can my friend locate a veterinary surgeon who may specialize in this area? we live in the chicagoland area, but she would be willing to travel with the dog to get the best surgeon possible. in general, how does one locate veterinary specialists? and how does one judge their expertise? is there any type of national referral service? does any association compile statistics on treatments and success rates by doctor? i'd appreciate your response as soon as possible, as the "mass" is still growing. thanks.

A: J. Sorry, but Hurricane Floyd interrupted our ability to respond to messages. We just got power back this evening. I can not help much with your inquiry, beyond giving you the basic answers to some of your questions. Most veterinary specialists require that a veterinarian refer cases to them, meaning that most of them will not take direct appointments from pet owners. This is good and bad -- good in that it assures that the specialist is necessary and conserves their time, bad in that some vets don't refer to specialists unless specifically asked to do so. There are often referral centers with several specialists in major cities, so I suspect that Chicago probably has one. The other choice would be one of the veterinary schools in the area. The veterinary schools tend to be good sites for surgeries that require a lot of aftercare and I am under the impression that prostate surgery does require this. There are several things to think about before considering prostate surgery, though. The first thing is to be sure that there are not metastases to the bone in the region or to other areas, if possible. Then consider that prostate surgery is not usually totally successful and that it almost always produces incontinence (which can sometimes be controlled with medications). There is some research on using laser or ultrasonic surgical techniques that seems promising but is mostly being done at human research centers (where they have equipment like that). Radiation therapy can be helpful and may give as good a prognosis as surgery. Piroxicam (Feldene Rx) is used to make dogs more comfortable and help prolong their lives in that manner, too. It is sometimes necessary to use medications to control other problems, such as high blood calcium levels, as well. The best thing to do is to find a veterinary oncology specialist. There are usually good ones at most of the veterinary schools. Find out how successful they are in treating protate cancer and make sure you understand their concept of success --- is it OK if it is just prolonging life a few months, or do you want more from the definition? I am certain that there is no one keeping track of success rates independently among veterinarians and there is no referral service I know of that isn't a "for-profit" venture -- which makes them much less useful since they are hardly objective. Your friend's vet should have some idea who the good specialists are in the area. It would probably be best to take his or her referral first and then look for other means of locating a specialist if that doesn't work out. Mike Richards, DVM 9/18/99


Q: Have a one and a half year old male Yorkie with prostatitis according to a vet. What treatment would you recommend ? Would neutering be needed on a emergency basis? A: Prostatitis is usually treated with antibiotics. It is generally from a bacterial infection of the prostate gland leading to inflammation. This causes pain when urinating and may cause lameness or stiffness in the rear legs. It can be a serious illness, sometimes leading to septicemia (blood borne infection). It is best to treat with an antibiotic that has been chosen based on a culture of the prostatic fluid but veterinarians often choose an antibiotic based on the likelihood it will work for prostate infection since culture and sensitivity takes a few days to get results from and adds to the expense of treating the condition. If the antibiotic doesn't seem to be working it is best to insist on a culture, though. Neutering probably doesn't help much with acute prostatitis but it may be helpful if chronic prostatitis is present and it definitely helps if there is benign hypertrophy of the prostate. The latter condition is more common as dogs get older and would be unusual in a young dog. In some instances prostate infections abscess. This is much more serious, does respond best to surgical drainage and is at least a pressing problem, if not an outright emergency. Castration is a good idea when treating prostatic abscesses but the abscess must still be treated properly as it will not go away with castration alone. While I haven't seen much mention of it in the medical texts, I really think that prolonged exposure to females in heat, especially when mating does not occur, can lead to painful enlargement of the prostate that really isn't an infection. Just inflammation. This does seem to respond to castration or to limiting exposure to females in heat. Good luck with all of this. Mike Richards, DVM

Maintaining a healthy stud dog

Q: What would I do to keep my four year old male dog healthy enough for him to continue to successfully breed into his later years?

A: First, you have to assure his general health. There are a lot of variations from place to place in the potential threats to his health, but there are some general quidelines and few specific things that probably apply to most dogs. Try to insure that he is eating a nutritionally balanced diet in amounts sufficient to meet his needs but do not overfeed him. For a working dog, it is probably best to think a little bit about what this really means as there is a lot of conflicting information on things like protein needs, caloric intake, the benefits and disadvantages of higher fiber diets, etc. One of the most misunderstood areas is the protein requirement. For some reason, pet owners have come to associate high protein with better quality in foods. Protein need is a pretty complex subject but there are a couple of things that might make it easier to think about and understand. First off, how much protein do adult dogs really need in order to function well? There is a dog food, u/d (TM), made by Hill's that is 11% protein. We have had several male dalmatian patients who have lived on this diet for years and done well. So I think it is safe to assume that dogs can live on 11% protein if it is high quality protein. Since it is hard to be certain that the protein quality in a dog food is optimum, it is better to use something like 18% protein as a guideline for the necessary amount. Protein above the amount necessary for maintenance and repair of the body is used for energy (calories). Since dog foods that meet the AAFCO standards (it will say this somewhere on the bag) contain adequate protein and should contain adequate minerals and vitamins, the major variable in dog foods is the calorie content. Dogs should receive enough food to be maintain their ideal weight and to perform physically at the level required of them or that they choose. This caloric amount varies widely from dog to dog and there is no really good guideline that will ensure that any particular dog is receiving the proper amount of food. For an athletic dog it is probably best to keep weight at a level where the last three to five ribs are visible on short coated dogs and easily palpated on long haired dogs. For less active dogs it is probably OK if the ribs can be palpated (felt by lightly touching over the area they occupy) but are not clearly visible. If it is necessary to push in on the skin in order to feel ribs, a dog is overweight. Foods also have variations based on fiber content and ingredients designed to aid in digestion or to produce beneficial medicinal effects, but these things are less of a concern to the average pet owner or breeder. Except perhaps that low fiber diets usually result in less bulk to the stool, which is important to people who have to scoop up behind their dogs. These types of ingredients may be important in order to control problems in an individual patient. As your dog ages there may be some point at which you want to manipulate his diet but for right now, a good quality dog food is probably all you need. Preventative health measures that help to ensure longevity and good health are obviously important when trying to preserve breeding potential for as long as possible and in keeping an companion animal around for a long time. It is hard to rank the importance of various procedures but there are a few things that are really important. Control your dog's weight. Keeping a dog at or near its ideal weight is much better for joint function, for his back and for major organ function. It ranks very high on the list of things that help to ensure longevity and the ability to function throughout his lifetime. There are only three ways to help dogs that are overweight lose weight --- increase their exercise or decrease their caloric intake -- or do both. It is much easier to carefully monitor weight and to adjust the amount of calories fed or the amount of exercise necessary to maintain a good weight than it is to make a dog lose weight. Use heartworm preventative medications unless you are certain you are in an area in which heartworms are not a problem. This is not the case anywhere in Virginia that I am aware of. Use it from May to December AT LEAST. All year is probably better. Keep your dog's teeth clean. If you can't brush them let him have access to rawhides or to large bones (beef knuckle bones). There is a compromise in allowing dogs to chew on bones in that some dogs break their teeth, especially their fourth premolars on the top, when allowed to chew bones. This can lead to complications necessitating removal of the teeth. On the other hand, the dogs in our practice with the least tartar and best looking teeth are dogs that have access to rawhides and/or bones. A dental exam should be part of the yearly visit each year at the vet's and if your vet suggests teeth cleaning it should be done in almost all cases. We usually do have to use anesthesia in dogs to do a good job of teeth cleaning but the newer anesthetics are safer and not having to obtain a surgical plane of anesthesia is also an advantage in dentistry. Do have at least yearly physical examinations. Make sure that your vet checks your dog's testicles to be sure they are about the same size and consistency on each examination. Testicular cancer does occur in dogs and uneven testicular size or changes in the testicular consistency are clues to its presence. While I have never tried this, removal of one affected testicle would probably be reasonable if cancer was detected early. If your vet does find evidence of weight loss or signs of disease, pursue a diagnosis. It is much easier to provide prognosis and treatment advice when a cause for the problem can be identified. The need for various vaccinations is always hard to figure out for an individual dog. In general, the "core" vaccinations of distemper, parvovirus, parainfluenza, adenovirus and rabies should be maintained on a routine schedule, usually every year for all but the rabies vaccination, which is given every three years. Leptospirosis vaccination is a good idea in some situations and field trialing may be one of them. It must be given twice a year to be really effective, though. I don't see much need to vaccinate for coronavirus. Bordetella (kennel cough) vaccinations may be beneficial for dogs that spend a lot of time at competitions with other dogs, too. They also have to be given twice a year to really provide reliable protection. Lyme disease vaccination is a tough one for me to decide on the necessity for, primarily because it is a very low risk where we practice. I tend to think that it is probably unnecessary in the Southern states but will give it on request. There are now three Lyme vaccinations available. The oldest one, manufactured by Fort Dodge may cause reactions with symptoms similar to Lyme disease but this has not been conclusively proven in published studies, to the best of my knowledge. Still, it would probably be better to use one of the newer vaccines if you do decide Lyme disease is a significant risk. If I had a male dog that was used for breeding I think that I would require the bitches he was going to breed to have negative brucellosis tests unless they are known to be virgin bitches. In the entire time I have been in practice we have had two confirm positive tests for brucellosis but those were important to find. It is a pain for the bitch owner but if my dog was good enough that I could demand the testing, I would. I am not as big a fan of routine cultures for bacterial infection. The risk to the male dog is very low for most organisms, other than brucellosis, that inhabit the female's reproductive tract. Plus, it is often hard to separate the normal flora from infectious bacteria, anyway. Breeding management is an area that I am not overly familiar with. Consistently in the seminars I have attended on this and in the books that I have, the recommendation is to breed every other day during the time the female will accept the male. Some male dogs are really adept at figuring out when the female is receptive. Others are not. If your dog is not very good at this, it may be a good idea to make sure that the female is restrained by a leash or other method of controlling aggressive behavior if she objects strenuously to attempts to breed. If your male is aggressive about breeding similar precautions may be necessary to prevent him from injuring the female or inciting her to injure him. Male dogs produce semen more or less continuously, so it is OK to continue breeding on a regular basis but it is also probably best to have at least one day's break between breedings, most of the time -- all based on what I have available to read, not from personal experience. Prostatic disease is common in older dogs. Benign prostatic hypertrophy is the most common problem. It would be a good idea to have prostatic exams done during the yearly visits as your dog gets older and to think about the possibility of prostatic disease if your dog is straining when urinating, seems to be straining excessively when defecating, develops unexplained lameness in one hind leg or shows any other signs of discomfort while urinating or is reluctant to breed when he previously was not. It is probably more important to consider testing for hypothyroidism as a screening test for older dogs that are to be used for breeding, since hypothyroidism may interfere with fertility. Usually, I'm not a big fan of routinely testing all older dogs for hypothyroidism but it probably would be a good idea to be more cautious in a dog used for breeding. The free T4 test by equilibrium dialysis is the most accurate test for determining whether hypothyroidism is a problem and it would be worth paying extra to have this particular test run. I know that I have probably forgotten something because the question is actually pretty broad in scope. If there is a specific thing you were wondering about, just let me know. Mike Richards, DVM 5/18/99

Male sexual maturity

Q: I have a dog (a 12 month PitBull) and I was wondering when can I go with him to a female for having puppies. So when is the right time for a male to have puppies. Thank you very much. Regards Cristi

A: Cristi- Your dog is old enough to produce puppies. It would be a good idea to consider having his hips X-rayed to make sure he doesn't have signs of hip dysplasia and to get your vet to check and make sure there is not any other physical problem that might be passed on to puppies. Also, it is a good idea to check with a couple of breeders to make sure that the male is a good specimen of his breed and will improve the breed by producing puppies. Mike Richards, DVM

Retained testicles

Q: Hi - my name is Jim and I live in Chatham, Ontario, Canada and train German Shepherds for Schutzhund. I presently have an 11 month old male out of East German lines. The dog had both testicles down until he was approx. 4 months old and then it went back up inside. I have had several opinions on what to do but none really professional. My vet says to just fix him and be done with it . I don't want to do that unless it is absolutely necessary. Is there any way to try and get it down without surgery (as that would not be ethical). Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance - Jim

A: Jim- I am not sure that there is a difference in the ethics of making the testicle descend with medication or surgery and I don't know how the prior presence of the testicle affects the ethics of the situation. There have been reports of success using human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) and gonadatrophin releasing hormone (GnRH) to cause testicles retained in the inguinal canal or subcutaneous tissue to descend into the scrotum but my impression is that this works best when used at a younger age, like 3 to 4 months of age and that it may not be successful then. It is important to consider removal of retained testicles are they are more likely to develop testicular tumors and to contribute to aggressive behaviors. Mike Richards, DVM

Sore after neuter

Q: We have an 8 month old Shih-Tzu/Maltese cross male who was just sterilized. Since the operation (3 days ago), he has not been able to walk properly (he tucks his bum under) and he seems very uncomfortable. He scoots his bum on the ground and also licks at his wound, then runs off crying. He won't eat on his own initiative, because he can't stand without pain. We have taken him back to the vet who thought it may be a burn wound from being shaven before surgery. We've tried an anti-inflammatory cream -- it seems to soothe him a bit, but he is very sensitive to us applying it. Do you think this is the problem or could it be something more serious? Also, and this may sound silly, but I have seen two round hard "balls" near the base of his penis intermittently (especially when he'd just woken up). We thought these were undescended testes, but the vet said his testes had descended into his scrotum before the operation. I have seen them again since the operation. What are they? Thanks for your help. J.

A: Once in a while we have a male dog who gets very sore after neutering. I am not sure why this happens in all cases but am suspicious that some are sensitive to suture material, that sometimes we tie the knots too tight making the skin feel pinched, that infection occasionally occurs in the suture line and that skin can get sore from the shaving process prior to surgery. Once in a while all these things seem not to be the problem and the dog still seems to be in pain a little. We like to use pain relief medications in these cases. Your vet can help with this, if necessary. The two round objects you are seeing are called the bulb of the penis. It is really just one large area of spongy blood filled tissue but it has two lobes. These fill with blood rather dramatically when a dog gets an erection and do often have appearance of subcutaneous testicles alongside the penis. Many dogs continue to be able to produce an erection shortly after neutering and as many as 20% of dogs may be able to produce an erection long-term after neutering. If your dog still seems painful now, please call your vet and let him or her know. Mike Richards, DVM

Testosterone and Perianal Adenoma

Q: Dear Dr Mike; I have an 11 year old male Chow Chow that has not been neutered. Yesterday, I noticed an apparent growth near the anus. It is apporximately 1/2 inch long and about 1/4 in diameter. I immediately took the dog to our local Vet, and was told that it is a common problem in older intact males. The Vet indicated there is a 15% probability of it being malignant. Their recommendation is to have the grow surgically removed AND that the dog be neutered. I seem to recall that several years ago, a similar growth was detected, and the Vet merely aspirated the growth and it disappeared. This particular vet indicated that this would be something we should keep an eye on, but that it was common and not to be overly concerned. Unfortunately, the Vet I visited several years ago has since retired out of the country and cannot be contacted. I would appreciate any comment you could make! Thank you, Curtis

A: Curtis- If your new vet thinks that the growth is a perianal adenoma, which would be the most likely tumor around the anal area then his or her advice is correct. These are generally benign but growth is stimulated by testosterone and castration will reduce the risk of recurrence and the risk of a malignancy developing. If you are concerned that the diagnosis is not correct you can always opt for a biopsy first and castration if the results come back perianal adenoma -- but that would mean that there would be two surgeries and two anesthetic procedures which is less than ideal, unless the tumor can be biopsied with a local anesthetic. Mike Richards, DVM Last edited 08/08/05


Michael Richards, D.V.M. co-owns a small animal general veterinary practice in rural tidewater Virginia. Dr. Richards graduated from Iowa State University's College of Veterinary Medicine in 1979, and has been in private practice ever since. Dr. Richards has been the director of the PetCare Forum...