Priapism in a stallion with generalized malignant melanoma. Academic Article uri icon


  • A Thoroughbred stallion developed priapism that was unresponsive to medical treatment and lavage of the corpus cavernosum penis with heparinized 0.9% NaCl solution. Three weeks after onset of priapism, the penis was firm and noncompliant, and penile pain sensation and ability to retract the penis were lost. Ultrasonography confirmed thrombosis of the corpus cavernosum penis. The stallion was euthanatized because of poor prognosis for return to breeding soundness. Necropsy revealed enlargement of numerous lymph nodes. The dorsal penile nerves were demyelinated distal to the crura of the penis. A diagnosis of generalized malignant melanoma was made; however, neither metastasis to the vertebral canal nor compression of spinal nerve roots as they exited the vertebral foramen was found. Priapism is a persistent erection without sexual arousal and is initially unassociated with penile paralysis, but if prolonged, leads to irreversible venous occlusion where collecting veins join the cavernous spaces. Damage to the dorsal penile nerves may explain the long-term penile paralysis and loss of sensation that accompanied priapism in this stallion. Priapism unassociated with the use of phenothiazine-derivative tranquilizers is uncommon in horses.

published proceedings

  • J Am Vet Med Assoc

author list (cited authors)

  • Blanchard, T. L., Schumacher, J., Edwards, J. F., Varner, D. D., Lewis, R. D., Everett, K., & Joyce, J. R.

citation count

  • 20

complete list of authors

  • Blanchard, TL||Schumacher, J||Edwards, JF||Varner, DD||Lewis, RD||Everett, K||Joyce, JR

publication date

  • March 1991