Canine Prostatic disease

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.

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