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Dr. Margo
Dr. Margo, Horse Veterinarian
Category: Horse Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 504
Experience:  12yrs as mixed animal veterinarian
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We have just rescued a gelding with a frostbitten penis. What

Customer Question

We have just rescued a gelding with a frostbitten penis. What can be done? How should we care for this?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Horse Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Margo replied 8 years ago.


Is the actual penis or the sheath that is frost bitten?

How did this happen?

What condition is the skin in right now?

Can he urinate normally?

How long ago did the injury first take place?


Dr. M

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
He is a resuce so I have limited information. It looks to be the sheath that is frostbitten. He is unable to retract at all and it just hangs all the time due to swelling. The skin is red and flakey and looks to be a large open wound. He can urinate however is unable to retract afterwards. We are unaware of when this started as we just rescued him yesterday. I have pictures available if you would like to see them.
Expert:  Dr. Margo replied 8 years ago.


Is he on any antibiotics right now?

Will he let you work with his penis or is he a bad kicker?

Is the penis swelling at all or is just the sheath that is swollen?


Dr. M

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

he has been started on penicillin.

We are not sure how he is going to act just yet. We are hesitant to put anything on it without knowing exactly what we really sure do, not wanting to make it worse.

I'm not sure exactly how to explain where the swelling is without showing the pictures to you.

Expert:  Dr. Margo replied 8 years ago.


I am told that the tree icon on the tool bar will allow you to post pictures.

You can give that a try.


Dr. M

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Expert:  Dr. Margo replied 8 years ago.


Good picture.


I am not convinced that this is frost bite. There isn't a good reason why he should get frost bite of his penis unless he couldn't retract it properly to begin with. An engorged penis that cannot be retracted is normally seen in stallions, not geldings.


There is such a distinct demarcation from good tissue to disease tissue, unless this is a false impression from the skin fold from above covering uneven tissue margins. I would be worried about something else other than frost bite. I would like to check for any ligature marks, tumors etc.


I really recommend getting a veterinarian to sedate him so you can get a good look at the whole injury.


Until then keep up with the penicillin. Make sure he gets a tetanus toxoid vaccine and a tetanus antitoxin treatment. You could put colloidal silver ointment on his penis if he will let you. This a good ointment used for burns and is also antibacterial.


Can I answer anything else?


Dr. M

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I have heard this happends to horses that are severely dehydrated. I do not believe he is a stallion as there are not testicles there, but like I said we rescued them with very little information and maybe they never dropped. So your suggestion is to keep the meds going and sedate him to get a closer look at the infected area?
Expert:  Dr. Margo replied 8 years ago.


Does he look bad enough to have been that dehydrated? I could understand that at this time of year with water freezing. That is just too hard/sad to think about.


Yes I really would want to check the penis over very well. You also need to make sure there will not be any scar tissue contracture that will cause obstruction of the urethra (especially at the tip).


Anything else I can answer?


Dr. M


If you dont mind me asking where are you located?

How cold is it there?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Both the horses are in horrible shape. They hadn't had water or food in weeks. They are very skinny and in need of some TLC. We brought them home yesterday morning. I am in Michigan and today it is in the negatives with a windchill advisory. We have had a very cold winter this year. Last night when we fed, it looked like a lot of the scabs have come off.
Expert:  Dr. Margo replied 8 years ago.


That is just awful.


Just really be careful of strictures and make sure he gets his tetnus treatments. These will be the life threatening issues for him.


Keep up the good work.


Dr. M