Prostatic disease is common in middle age to older dogs.
Prostatic cancer is rare while inflammatory diseases are dominant.
The prostate is a secondary sex gland located at the base
of the bladder. Most diseases cause enlargement of the prostate. The enlarged
prostate presses and displaces the adjacent tissues, causing pain and difficult
defecation in the dog. Signs of prostatic disease in dogs include stiff gait
("walking on eggs"), arched back, frequent straining, bloody urine and
pain in the abdomen.
The most common disease affecting the prostate in dogs is
benign prostatic hyperplasia, which causes enlargement of the gland. It is
affected by testosterone (the male sex hormone) and therefore common in
unneutered males. Other conditions include prostatic cysts, bacterial
infections, abscess and cancer.
Any male dog with signs suggestive of prostatic disease
should be taken to the veterinarian. The first step in the diagnosis is a
complete physical exam and a rectal palpation. A complete blood test and a urine
analysis usually follow the physical exam. Additional tests performed may
include x-rays, ultrasounds, a prostatic flush/cytology and biopsy.
Treatment depends on the diagnosis. Dogs with simple or
complicated prostatic hyperplasia usually undergo antibiotic medication and
castration surgery. Following
castration, the prostate shrinks and the problem resolves. Other prostatic
diseases may require prostatic surgery (abscess, cyst) and sometimes-hormonal
therapy. There is no cure for prostatic cancer.
Early neutering is an excellent way to prevent most of the
prostatic diseases. It is also beneficial in reducing other undesirable male
hormone related problems such as aggression, urine marking and roaming.