Duncan's Penile Prolapse

Today's post is pretty self-explanatory; Duncan and all of our resident degus are some of our eldest residents. Sadly, with old age, things do start to go wrong - health-wise. Duncan had a little bit of a embarrassing problem, to say the least. 
This post contains content some readers may find distressing.

All of a sudden whilst going about our daily business, one of our degus started to make a distressing alarm-call. 
For those of you who don't have degus, it is hard to explain their difficult vocabulary. They have a range of calls which vary in complexity and meaning. In simple terms, it's conversation in degu-language. It takes a lot of experience to learn to recognize the different calls and figure out what it is that your degu is saying to both you, and their cage mates. To familiarize yourself, we recommend visiting 'Degutopia'. We will post a link at the end of the post to the relevant part of their website. 

When we figured out it was Duncan making the call, it was clear something was wrong. He was particularly focused on his genital region. When we checked to see what the problem was, we could see Duncan had a minor penile prolapse. This can be treated at home in a sterile environment, depending on the severity.If you were to treat at home, we recommend starting with some vaseline/oil to help lubricate the penis and put it back inside so the base of the penis no longer protrudes and is in its natural position. You can use KY Jelly, but this can often become dry which can elevate the problem.

Signs and symptoms can include:
  • Inflamed penis
  • Red/Purple colouring
  • Bleeding
  • Extremely sensitive and sore
  • Cut off blood circulation
  • Urinary problems
  • Injury
  • Infection
Depending on which symptoms are present, and how severe they are, will depend on if it is safe/suitable to treat at home. In Duncan's case, it was. We gave a safe dose of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory - we used Metacam/Meloxicam at a 1ml:1kg dosage. You require an accurate weight in order to administer safely. 
It's always advised to visit your veterinarian prior to administering any non-prescribed medication.
Image highlighting Duncan's prolapse

A penis prolapse can occur with old age due to weakening of the penile muscles which help retract the penis. There can be other primary medical problems which can make a secondary prolapse occur. It's always advised to visit a qualified vet as soon as possible if you fear there may be any other health problems present, or if you're unsure - better to be safe than sorry. What can start as a minor prolapse can soon escalate without immediate, and appropriate, medical attention. We would classify any prolapse as a medical emergency.
Image demonstrating Duncan's penis in it's usual, comfortable, position. Vaseline was used as lubricant and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory controlled inflammation of the penis whilst simultaneously acting as a painkiller.
Duncan feeling sorry for himself - understandably.

We always do regular health checks on all of our residents, regardless if the animal has any pre-existing health concerns, or not. However, we made sure to specifically check on Duncan and examine his genitalia on a regular basis in case the prolapse would've been a daily occurrence. Luckily for Duncan, it isn't. That's not to say he will never suffer another prolapse again, but at least it will be fairly sporadic and infrequent if it does reoccur.

You can keep up with Duncan on our Instagram.
Degu sounds resource:
  1. http://www.degutopia.co.uk/degusound.htm