I have a completely healthy MFT gelding, but he has an "opening" (?) just in front of his penis that's just under a foot deep and plenty wide enough to get my entire arm in it to clean it out. Having it cleaned out feels good to him (he holds still and stretches out to allow easy access) so it's obviously NOT sore. What IS it? My vet (from LSU) has never seen such an opening - I'm just wondering if anyone else has? I use a warm damp towel periodically to clean out the white smelly ooze that accumulates inside it. It apparently itches if I don't clean it out at least every couple weeks because he will lay down and rub his belly around on the ground trying to scratch it. That's how I happened to discover that opening in the first place. We thought it was his sheath that needed cleaning, but although he will allow that, of course, he much prefers to have that opening cleaned out.
Type of Animal: Horse
Name of Horse: Duke
Nothing. His vet didn't suggest anything except keeping it clean.
Has your vet actually examined Duke? Is this an equine vet?
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His vet IS a large animal vet and assistant professor at LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. (Her name isXXXXX) She HAS seen the opening and has reached in there and checked the exudate. But we have NOT done any x-rays or anything since it apparently doesn't bother him as long as it's kept clean. (And I've spent a lot on the two older horses so I don't have a lot of extra cash for curiosity only.) I'm just wondering if any of you have ever known of something like that, and if so what the cause is -- or is it just a genetic anomaly?
Does this opening go back in over the top of the penis, to the side, or towards the front?
It's an opening right in FRONT of his penis that is essentially closed unless you press your hand against it, in which case it becomes about 4 or 5 inches across. It seems to me to go straight "up" and not to either side or back or front. If you go to my blog, I put a link to a video on there yesterday showing how he behaves when it starts to bother him: http://maremom--lifeasweknowit.blogspot.com/And I'm going to post some photos on there today showing the location of the opening. (They're not all THAT helpful though since you can only see the general position, not the actual hole - I'll need some help to expand the opening AND take a photo.) If you send me an e-mail address and I'll send them to you directly.
The photos show the dorsal preputial orifice. There is an wide individual variation in the depth of the invagination and the diameter of the opening, on a horse Duke's size, it can range from just 4 or so inches wide at the opening, and only go up 8 inches or so, to about twice those dimensions. This opening is the source of the "crouping" sound geldings make as they trot, as air is moved in and out.Duke may have an unusually expansive and relaxed opening, but I'm not sure I'd call it a genetic anomaly beyond normal individual variation.The smegma buildup that makes him "itchy" is a normal skin discharge in that area, and you need to walk a fine line between keeping it clean enough to be comfortable, but not so clean that the normal bacterial population is disturbed. The only true infections in this area I've seen were a direct result of too frequent/thorough cleaning.DrMike
Thanks so much! If it's twice the "normal" size that would definitely explain it.
Can you tell me what you suggest I use to clean it so that I won't make it TOO clean, but I can still stop him from kicking himself in the tummy and laying down trying to scratch it against the ground?
I try to use just water. If the buildup is really greasy, I'll use a bit of Ivory dishwashing soap, rinsing well afterwards. Some of the commercial sheath cleaners can be pretty irritating, and a more potent antibacterial product can kill the good bacterial populations.
23 years in private equine practice.