Inflammation or infection of the foreskin (preputium) frequently occurs in male dogs. If the glands of the penis are affected as well, the condition is called a balanoposthitis.
At the onset of the condition, dogs start to vigorously lick their penis or foreskin. The inflammation is normally characterized by a pusy discharge only. The amount and quality of the discharge may vary. Very small amounts of smegma (a fluid collecting between glands and foreskin) or as much as large amounts of green pus are possible. This is usually a comparably harmless condition, albeit one that can become a nuisance for the owner. There are therapeutic measures to relieve the symptoms. Some dogs tend to develop symptoms repeatedly or can suffer from chronic conditions.
The offending bacteria are usually part of the natural environment of the foreskin. Canine herpes as well as some fungi (blastomyces) have also been known to cause foreskin catarrh.
Your vet will examine the foreskin for foreign bodies, tumors, lumps or inflammatory knots. Further testing is only necessary if a viral or fungal infection is suspected. If the condition is at an early stage, washing the foreskin with a mild disinfecting solution (i.e. chlorhexidin or povidone-iodine) may show good results. The washing procedure will have to be repeated daily by the owner over the course of a week. Depending upon the extent of the inflammation, anti-bacterial drugs can be introduced into the foreskin. Castration usually reduces secretion.
The earlier the condition is diagnosed the better the chance of a full recovery. However, in many cases, symptoms reoccur. This may happen be without injury to the dog, and thus remain unnoticed. Owners, on the other hand, may find constant soiling of carpets and surfaces with discharge disturbing. If you are looking to remedy this situation, please read the following chapter to learn about how to wash your dog's foreskin.