4 Prostate Problems in DogsLast updated: Aug 01, 2019
There are four main types of prostate problems a dog can experience. Prostate issues are common in males over four years of age and can usually be diagnosed with a rectal exam. If you have a stud dog with fertility issues, the prostate must be ruled out.
- Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy or Hyperplasia (BPH) Benign prostatic hypertrophy is the most common prostate problem we see in unneutered, or intact male dogs. It is frequently seen after age five, however younger in Bernese and Greater Swiss Mountain dogs. Symptoms of BPH in dogs are blood dripping from the penis not associated with urination, pain on breeding, flat ribbon-like stools and blood in the ejaculate.
BPH does not get better with antibiotics. It does wax and wane, depending on if there are females in heat in the vicinity. BPH responds very well to hormone therapy. Left untreated, it can lead to infertility, poor semen quality, and eventually prostatitis. It is best diagnosed with an ultrasound that will show the prostate is enlarged and may have cysts, looking like Swiss cheese. BPH can be cured with neutering.
Treatment with finasteride is a very successful way to manage but not cure BPH. By using finasteride, dogs can remain fertile, feel better, and are less likely to develop the infection associated with prostatitis. CAUTION: Women who are or could be pregnant should not handle broken tablets because of a specific kind of birth defect. Do not let family or staff handle tablets if they could be pregnant.
- Prostatitis in Dogs Canine prostatitis is fairly common in unneutered male dogs. Dogs with prostatitis are sick. They run a fever, are lethargic, won't eat and may die if the infection spreads into their abdomen causing peritonitis. Since the underlying reason dogs have prostatitis is BPH, they need both an antibiotic and a hormone therapy. This will shrink the prostate and make the cysts disappear, leaving the bacteria nowhere to set up housekeeping. Neutering will cure prostatitis.
- Prostate Cancer in Dogs Prostate cancer is usually seen in neutered, not intact male dogs. It spreads from the bladder. It doesn't lend itself to surgery and medical management helps for only a short time. The only way to confirm prostate cancer is on a biopsy of the prostate, which can be done with an ultrasound-guided biopsy, far less invasive than opening the dog up.
- Para-Prostatic Cysts Para-prostatic cysts are rare but dramatic. These are cysts that form outside the prostate, and look on ultrasound and x-ray like the dog has a second bladder. These do best if surgically corrected and the dog is neutered.
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Marty Greer, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Director of Veterinary Services at Revival Animal Health
Marty Greer, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, has 35+ years' experience in veterinary medicine, with special interests in canine reproduction and pediatrics. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University in 1981. She's served as Revival's Director of Veterinary Services since 2019.
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