Urethral Prolapse in Dogs

Urethral prolapse is a canine health condition characterized by the overhanging of the tail end segment of the urethra through the external urethral opening.  English bulldogs and Boston terriers are the breeds that are the most predisposed to this disease. The age and the gender of the dog also influences the occurrence of the problem, as young to middle aged male dogs are more prone to urethral prolapse.

Causes of Urethral Prolapse

This canine health problem may appear as the result of one of the following:

  • Increased pressure inside the abdomen
  • Prolonged sexual excitement
  • Urethral infection
  • Urolithiasis (stones in the urinary tract)

The pressure inside the abdomen tends to increase as a consequence of brachycephalic syndrome. This disease affects short-nosed dogs most frequently and is characterized by obstructed upper airways, as a result of anatomical defects.

Signs and Symptoms of a Dog Urethral Prolapse

Dogs suffering from urethral prolapse will exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Bleeding from the urethra when not urinating
  • Hematuria (blood in the urine)
  • Pollakiuria (frequent urination)
  • Stranguria (straining to urinate)
  • Urinary blockage

In addition to the above, dogs with this health problem may also lick their penis more often. Dog owners are recommended to take their pet to a veterinarian as soon as the signs and symptoms listed above are noticed. After performing the diagnosis, the veterinarian will be able to recommend a proper treatment, according to how serious the problem is.

Diagnosis of Urethral Prolapse

The diagnosis begins with a visual inspection which will give the veterinarian a hint about the most probable problem. As the urethral prolapse my only be present while having a penile erection, an ejaculation could provide valuable details about the state of the urethra. Additional tests used in the diagnosis of urethral prolapse include:

  • Abdominal radiographs
  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • Urinalysis
  • Urine culture

Assessing the sensitivity felt while urinating can also help the veterinarian to determine how advanced this problem is. If the diagnosis is confirmed, the veterinarian will proceed to picking a treatment that is proper for the condition of your dog.

Treatment of Urethral Prolapse

Following a treatment is not mandatory if the urethra only bleed occasionally. This is also the case when the dog does not exhibit any symptoms. On the other hand, if the urethral prolapse only occurs when the dog has a penile erection, castrating the dog should be taken into consideration before removing the overhanging tissue through a surgical procedure.

Surgery is the treatment of choice for dogs whose urethra bleeds excessively. Also, if the sensation of pain felt by the dog is very strong, surgery may be the only solution. There are also cases when the prolapsed tissue necrotizes or gets ulcerated. In such situations, the veterinarian will most probably recommend a surgical procedure as the best treatment. If the dog undergoes a surgery, an Elizabethan collar is required afterwards, so the dog is prevented from causing postoperative trauma by licking the area.

Antibiotics are recommended if an infection occurs as a consequence of urethral prolapse. Moreover, estrogen will help to reduce the occurrence of erections. Stones found in the urinary tract should be removed as part of the urethral prolapse treatment, in order to improve the condition of the dog.