It’s a rather indelicate topic, but many of our readers ask for advice on what to do about dog smegma – the yellow or greenish pus that sometimes oozes from a dog’s penis.
Fortunately, this discharge is natural and not usually a sign of any serious problem. But if your dog is constantly licking his genital area, or if he isn’t neutered and produces a lot of the stuff, it’s a good idea to have him examined by your veterinarian.
What is Smegma?
Smegma, which is also known as preputial discharge, is “any substance emanating (flowing) from the prepuce (the fold of skin that covers the penis),” according to PetPlace.com.
“Preputial discharge may consist of blood, urine or pus. The normal dog should have no discharge; however a small amount of whitish-yellow ‘smegma’ can accumulate around the preputial opening, and is not considered clinically significant.”
Mike Richards, DVM, writes on VetInfo.com, “There is a thick exudate, referred to as smegma, which is thick yellow to yellow-green in color and is normal. For some reason, it may seem to suddenly accumulate in larger quantities in some dogs.”
What Causes Smegma in Dogs?
If your dog is producing a large quantity of smegma, these are some of the possible causes, according to PetPlace.com and Michele Hoag, DVM on iLoveDogs.com:
- Prepuce problems – These could include issues such as cancer, trauma or a foreign body. “Sometimes a piece of grass or another foreign body gets into the sheath that covers the penis, causing an infection,” notes Dr. Hoag. “If that happens, your veterinarian will have to remove the foreign body or the infection will keep returning.”
- Allergies – Dogs with skin allergies sometimes produce abnormal amounts of mucus, which can create excessive smegma. “When the skin allergies are treated, the smegma usually resolves as well,” according to Hoag.
- Urethra problems – Tumors, trauma or stones.
- Bladder issues – Urinary tract infections, stones, inflammation, tumors or urinary incontinence.
- Prostate disorders – Prostatitis (infection or inflammation of the prostate), tumors, enlargement, cysts or abscesses.
- Bleeding disorders – Thrombocytopenia (a decreased platelet count) or ingestion of rat poison.
What are the Symptoms of Smegma in Dogs?
PetPlace.com lists the following symptoms of abnormal smegma production in dogs:
- Excessive licking
- Swelling of the genital area
How is Smegma in Dogs Treated?
In most cases, normal smegma requires no treatment. But if your dog is constantly licking his genital area or has a heavy discharge, you should have him examined by a veterianian.
Your vet will do the following, according to PetPlace.com:
- Perform a complete physical examination, including a thorough check of your dog’s genitals.
- Run screening tests including a complete blood count (CBC), biochemical profile and urinalysis to determine if there is an infection or inflammation. If an infection is found, Hoag says it will usually “be treated topically by flushing the prepuce and applying a topical antibiotic into the sheath. However, your veterinarian will probably also want to check the urine to make sure the infection has not traveled farther up into the urinary system, which would require an oral antibiotic treatment.”
- Take a sample of the discharge for a cytology (cell) and bacteria culture.
- If your dog’s discharge is bloody, your vet may perform a coagulation profile, which is a blood test that checks for clotting problems.
- Take X-rays of your dog’s abdomen to see if there are any prostate abnormalities.
- Perform an ultrasound for a more thorough examination of your dog’s abdomen.
Can Smegma in Dogs Be Prevented?
One way to prevent an overabundance of smegma is to neuter your dog.
“It is much more common in intact males and neutering will decrease the amount of smegma produced,” Hoag notes.
Find A Vet HOW TO articles are intended for informational purposes only. You should always consult with your veterinarian about any health issues affecting your dog.