Having a veterinarian in the family means instant advice at all times of day. Great for the family pets, but maybe not so great for the sleep-deprived veterinarian. The story below is from one of the many calls that I received over the years. Till today it brings a smile to my weary face.
“John, sorry to bother you but I think Rusty has a problem.”
The call was from my cousin Bryce, a great guy who takes good care of his cute silky terrier.
As I turned to look at the clock and vaguely saw 11:30 p.m. I mumbled, “Tell me what’s going on.”
“Well, I came home from work and noticed that Rusty kept licking ‘down there.’ Then when he stood up, he walked kind of funny. As I looked closer, I noticed that his penis was swollen and red. It looks dried out and I think he’s in pain.”
“Bryce, I know this is going to sound weird, but I need you to get a water soluble lubricant and gently put some on Rusty so that his penis can retract into normal position. He has a condition called paraphimosis, and if it lasts too long it could get serious.”
Fifteen minutes later Bryce called back telling me that everything was OK. I told him that if it ever happens again to lubricate and call me if it doesn’t work.
Months went by, then late one night I received another call from Bryce. “John, I’m sorry for calling so late but Rusty has the same problem again. I didn’t want to bother you, but I’ve been rubbing lubricant for over an hour and his penis still won’t go back in.”
As I shook the cobwebs from my head I contemplated what Bryce just told me.
“Did you say rubbing lubricant for over an hour?”
“Yeah, just like you told me to,” replied my cousin.
Oops. I should have explained things more in depth.
“Bryce, I did say to lubricate, but after doing so allow the penis to retract with just a little help. The more you manipulate the penis, the more it may stay engorged with blood. Hmm, now we need to get a little creative. I need you to pour cool water on Rusty’s penis to encourage shrinkage. If that doesn’t work, then sprinkle sugar on it. The sugar will help draw water out of the swollen penis and reduce swelling.”
Thirty minutes later Bryce called back. With a sigh of relief, he said, “Done. Rusty is back to normal.”
This time I explained the disease in detail and how manual stimulation can cause the penis to persistently be engorged. With chronic exposure and tissue damage, the worst-case scenario would be penis amputation. I could feel my cousin cringe, as I did, at the gruesome thought.
Years later Rusty no longer suffers from his condition. Age may be a factor, as his hormone levels decreased with time.
Now Bryce and I chuckle at the miscommunication and misuse of lubricant.