Pizzle Rot
Maxine Kinne

Pizzle rot is an uhealthy combination of urine scald and bacterial growth on the prepuce, the end of the penis sheath. If it is not treated the infection can scar the penis severely enough to end a male's breeding life. This condition is far less common in does but can occur in Angoras when they have not been britched (shorn around the vulva) and urine- soaked fleece irritates the tender perineal skin. 

A buck with pizzle rot has the desire to breed and can mount vigorously, but he won't extend his penis to ejaculate. While he has this condition, the stud's a dud. He ought to return to reproductive health after you recognize and treat his problem.

Posthitis, the medical name for pizzle rot, is fairly common in bucks and wethers on nitrogen-rich diets, such as alfalfa or rapidly growing, improved pasture. The bacterium Corynebacterium renale causes the urine to contain more ammonia, which is very irritating to the skin. Change the diet to a lower protein forage if you have to treat this condition.

Excess hair retains urine on and around the prepuce which can exacerbate irritation. The first step in treatment is to trim the long hair on and around the prepuce. Brown, crusty scabs have to come off, too. This is one of the worst-smelling jobs you'll ever do. Soaking the scabs with cool water on a wash cloth before you rudely peel them off is a charitable gesture. The area will be very raw and sore, but there is very little bleeding, if any.

Depending on the severity of the lesion, antibiotic treatment may be needed (talk to your veterinarian!). Some severe cases require antibiotic infusions into the sheath. When it is caught early, pizzle rot usually responds very well to daily application topical ointment. I prefer NolvasanTM ointment but have also used Bag BalmTM. Other goatkeepers use DesitinTM diaper rash ointment. Oil-based products stay on and provide a protective coating.

Related Reading
Pizzle Rot in Sheep



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