This is an infection of the prepuce and head of the penis. The prepuce is a sheath of skin that folds over the head of the penis.
Signs of sheath infection are excessive licking at the penis and a foul smelling discharge from the prepuce.
Awns, dirt, or pieces of straw can get caught beneath the foreskin and cause irritation, followed by infection and abscess within the sheath. Herpesvirus produces a chronic sheath infection that can be transmitted to the female during breeding. A strictured foreskin may cause a sheath infection. Transmissible venereal tumors may produce growths on the penis - this type of cancer is contagious.
A small amount of yellow-green discharge from the opening of the prepuce is normal. A copious discharge indicates infection. A rising antibody level suggests the diagnosis.
Any purulent discharge from the prepuce should be investigated and treated by a veterinarian. Antibiotics are selected based on culture and sensitivity tests. Herpesvirus is difficult to cure, but serology testing is available. Since herpes is a virus, there is no specific treatment. Most females develop immunity after once losing a litter to the this virus, but should still be protected from stress the last three weeks of pregnancy and the first three weeks post whelping. There is a vaccine in use in Europe, but it is not yet available in North America.
Please contact your veterinarian for advice if you suspect your pet may have this condition.
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