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Urinary Catheter in a Male Dog

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Megan Brashear, CVT, VTS(ECC), demonstrates how to place a urinary catheter in a male dog. In this case, the catheter was temporary meant to drain the bladder for patient comfort; a similar approach can be used for an indwelling urinary catheter.

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Megan Brashear's picture
Megan Brashear


Enrolled: 07/2011

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Megan Brashear's picture

Good questions Tinille. We don't tend to use any lidocaine gel on urinary catheters in male dogs due to the general ease of the procedure. If the correct catheter size is chosen it should not be a particularly painful event and the process is completed before the lidocaine gel starts working. For patients with a urinary obsruction or those with prostatitis where the process may be more challenging with multiple attempts, we will consider using a local anesthetic.

Kimberly  Harper's picture

We always scrub the tip of the penis with clohorex and saline prior to passing a u-cath... is this not recommended any more?

Christy Michael's picture

Hi Kimberly, I think you will likely find several schools of thought on cleaning the penis prior to passage of a urinary catheter. There are schools of thought that involve scrubbing the area, schools of thought that involve flushing the area, and combinations of the two. Ultimately, the degree of cleaning needed will likely vary depending on just how dirty the prepuce and penis in question. For example, even in the flushing school of thought, many advocate 5 flushes of the prepuce. In this case, the patient had been thoroughly cleaned for surgery the prior day and had no evidence of gross contamination so a single flush was adequate. On a patient that had not had similar recent preparation you may find yourself scrubbing the penis and flushing the prepuce several times before being confident that it is safe to pass the catheter!
Excellent question, thank you :)

Angelica Franco's picture

How do you determine which appropriate size french catheter to use in a male dog or male a cat?

Sarah Harris's picture

Hi Angelica! It's hard to always know for sure what size you will need because they are certainly not one-size-fits-all. The current recommendations for obstructed cats is a 3.5 fr, but even that is not a guarantee. My very loose rule of thumbs for dogs is 5-8 french for small dogs and 8-12 for medium-large dogs. I will often grab two or three sizes if I'm unsure and visually inspect the opening before making my choice. Additionally, if you suspect inflammation or if you get resistance you should go down a size. Urinary catheters also come in different lengths so it is also a good idea to hold it up to the patient and make sure it is long enough to reach the bladder before you place it. Thank you for your question! Hope this helps!