Just like people, yes, dogs can have prostate problems as well! It might not seem that common due to the fact that a majority of pet owners will have their dog neutered. How might you ask is neutering your pet related to prostate disease or a lack thereof? It starts with a common condition in male dogs who are not neutered. Overtime due to high levels of testosterone the prostate becomes enlarged. This condition is given the term benign prostatic hyperplasia. Benign is added because it is a non-cancerous enlargement and hyperplasia means an increase in number and size.

The condition is progressive and as the enlargement continues it will lead to numerous complications. One complication that may result is something called bacterial prostatitis. Bacterial prostatitis is inflammation of the prostate due to a bacterial component. The bacteria that take up shelter in the prostate often originates from elsewhere in the urinary tract. When a bacterial component is present the condition can be quite painful for the dog. The dogs may even appear uncomfortable when walking or running. Bacterial prostatitis can also lead to a discharge which presents similarly to urinary incontinence and occasionally becomes bloody. All of which is very disconcerting to a pet owner. If left untreated for long enough, and in very rare instances, the condition can lead to more severe complications, such as the bacteria finding its way to the bloodstream.

Due to a bacterial infection being present dogs will often seem extra tired and can come down with a fever. It is important when signs like this appear to seek veterinary attention as a treatment plan should be prepared immediately.

Other complications can be difficulty passing feces. Due to the location of the prostate in relation to the colon, there is less room available for the dog to pass feces, therefore they will often strain when going to the bathroom. As you can imagine the symptoms mentioned can all be uncomfortable for the dog.

For more long-term cases often times dogs may not seem to be ill. Certain dogs hide illnesses very well and it may be difficult to notice a problem if it is something that has appeared slowly over a long period of time. Your dog’s behavior might just seem normal when in reality there is an underlying pathology at work. Some dogs a clinical sign which may be seen is persistent or recurrent urinary tract infections.

There are two important points to remember. One this is just one disease of the prostate as there are other’s which are less benign. And two it is important to know that this condition can easily be prevented with a routine neuter procedure. Current recommendations are to have your dog neutered at approximately 6-7 months of age. Having your dog neutered at a young age can prevent the chronically high levels of testosterone which leads to the increased size of the prostate, and again ultimately can predispose to infections. Neutering your animal once a diagnosis is made is also the best treatment option. In the matter of a few weeks, the prostate will begin to decrease in size and lead to less clinical signs. As early as a couple of months complete resolution can occur in some dogs. If the dog is used for breeding there is a medication which may be tried in order to decrease the size of the prostate without castration. The drug is called Finastride. The only problem with the medication is that prostatic growth will return once the medication is discontinued. Along with neutering if needed antibiotics may be required if a secondary bacterial infection is present. So again the best treatment is always prevention, have your dog neutered as a puppy to prevent this condition from occurring.

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