Dog: Preputial Discharge

General information

Other common/scientific names: penile discharge, balanoposthitis, posthitis

The fold of skin that covers the penis is called the prepuce. The urethra, which is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body, travels through the penis. A preputial discharge is any substance draining from the prepuce.


A normal dog should have no discharge, although whitish-yellow smegma (glandular secretions of the penis and prepuce) can collect at the preputial opening. Some dogs will have a considerable amount of smegma. This is the most common reason for a discharge from the prepuce. Other causes include any disorder of the prepuce, penis, urinary bladder, urethra and prostate such as infection, cancer, inflammation, foreign body (grass awn) and calculi (stones) can cause a discharge. Urinary incontinence can cause a preputial discharge from inflammation caused by chronic leaking of urine.

Cardinal symptom

  • Discharge
  • Licking


A preputial discharge can be white, yellow, green or bloody. Dogs tend to lick the prepuce and penis excessively. Depending on the cause, other signs such as swelling, preputial pain, lethargy, fever and lack of appetite may be present.


The diagnosis of preputial discharge is made from physical examination. However, additional tests may be needed to determine the cause. These include a complete blood count (CBC), serum biochemistry panel and urinalysis. A urine culture and sensitivity may be needed to rule out a bladder infection. Abdominal radiographs and ultrasound are used to evaluate the urogenital tract including the prostate. A culture and sensitivity of the discharge can also be performed to identify an infection.


Treatment will depend on the actual cause. The prepuce should be checked closely for a foreign object. The prepuce should be flushed with an antiseptic solution. Oral antibiotics may be needed. If the discharge is from normal smegma, castration can reduce the production.


The prognosis will depend on the cause. Mild cases of infection of the prepuce have a good prognosis.


Early castration can help to prevent a discharge from smegma.

Update version: 4/24/2014, © Copyright by
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