Prostate Disease in Dogs
The prostate is a gland found in male animals which produces a fluid that helps sperm to survive. Prostate disease is seen in male dogs but is very rare in cats.
There are several different conditions which may affect the prostate gland including:
• Cysts – these are small fluid filled sacs that form on or within the prostate.
Symptoms you may notice if your dog has a prostate condition can vary depending on the type of problem but can include:
• Constipation and straining to pass faeces – this is because the prostate may push on or obstruct the rectum (last part of the bowel) if it is bigger than normal.
• Discharge from the penis.
• Difficulty urinating or blood in the urine – the prostate is connected to the urethra (the tube from the bladder to the outside) and can also compress the urethra if it is bigger than normal.
• Your dog may walk oddly on his back legs if the condition is painful.
• If there is infection in the prostate your dog may be off colour or off his food.
Your vet will ask you some questions about the symptoms you have noticed and will then examine your dog. They may wish to perform a rectal palpation. The vet will place a finger inside the rectum (through your dog’s bottom into the last part of the bowel) to allow them to feel the prostate. They will be feeling to see if it is bigger or a different shape to normal. They may also wish to perform some further investigations such as:
• Getting a urine sample – they will be able to look for blood, bacteria and inflammatory cells in the urine.
• Blood tests – these may show evidence of infection within the body.
• X-rays and ultrasound scan – this allows them to look at the size and appearance of the prostate. To find out more about Diagnostic Imaging click here.
• They may wish to take some samples from the prostate. A catheter may be passed up the urethra to take samples of fluid from the prostate. This can then be sent to a laboratory for cytology (to see what kinds of cells are present) and culture and sensitivity (to identify bacteria and which kind of antibiotics would be best to use). Biopsies can also be taken which can help find out if there is a tumour of the prostate. For these samples to be taken your dog may need some sedation or a general anaesthetic as it can be a bit uncomfortable.
The treatment that your vet advises will vary depending on what they have found during their investigation, but some possibilities include:
• Antibiotics may be prescribed if there is infection found on culture and sensitivity. For infections of the prostate a long course of antibiotics is often needed (up to 6 weeks). It is important you do not stop giving the medication even if your dog seems to be better before the end of the course as the infection may come back. Your vet may wish to perform another culture and sensitivity test at the end of the course of antibiotics to check that the infection has gone.
• Your vet will often recommend castration. This is often the only treatment necessary for hyperplasia. This is because the male hormones produced in the testicles can affect the prostate.
• If there is an abscess or cyst present this may need draining or further surgery which your vet will be able to discuss with you. They will also be able to discuss any treatment for tumours.
Disclaimer: This website has been designed to offer information surrounding the use of antibiotics and infection control for pet owners. It does not replace advice from your veterinary surgeon. If you believe your pet is unwell or you have any questions relating to their treatment, please always contact your veterinary surgeon for advice.