Prostate Cancer in Dogs: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options

Prostate Cancer in Dogs
Photo Credit:

Welcome to our thorough information on a frequently overlooked problem: Prostate Cancer in Dogs. Although this ailment is more often linked with male humans, dogs can also be impacted by this potentially fatal sickness. We will look at the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for prostate cancer in dogs in this blog post. By throwing light on this subject, we hope to promote awareness and equip dog owners with the knowledge they need to recognize and effectively treat this ailment.

Understanding the Prostate Gland

Understanding the complexity of prostate cancer in dogs requires first gaining a thorough understanding of the prostate gland itself. In this section, we will look at the importance of the prostate gland in canine reproduction as well as its role in overall health.

The prostate gland, a small, walnut-sized structure found near the bladder and surrounds the urethra, plays a vital role in male dogs’ reproductive systems. Its principal function is to create seminal fluid, which feeds and protects the sperm during ejaculation. This fluid is essential for successful reproduction because it aids in the movement and viability of sperm.

Throughout a dog’s life, the prostate gland develops and matures in a continual process. The prostate grows during puberty and into adulthood, gradually reaching its mature size and functions. However, as dogs become older, the prostate gland becomes more vulnerable to a variety of illnesses, including the development of prostate cancer.

Understanding the normal functioning and growth of the prostate gland allows us to better understand the possible impact of prostate cancer on the reproductive and general health of a dog.

The Causes and Risk Factors of Prostate Cancer

Several factors can cause prostate cancer in dogs, and some risk factors might enhance the likelihood of its occurrence. In this section, we will look at the causes and risk factors for prostate cancer in dogs.

#1. Hormonal Imbalances

Hormones, specifically testosterone, are essential in the development and progression of prostate cancer in dogs. According to research, intact male dogs, or those who have not been neutered, have a higher chance of getting prostate cancer due to testosterone’s continual prostate gland stimulation. Furthermore, dogs who were neutered later in life may still be at risk since their prostates have been exposed to testosterone for a lengthy period.

#2. Breed Predisposition

There is a hereditary propensity to prostate cancer in certain dog breeds, as evidenced by the increased prevalence of the disease. Boxers, Doberman Pinschers, and Scottish Terriers have been recognized as having a higher risk. It is crucial to note, however, that prostate cancer can affect dogs of any breed, and individual cases may differ.

Also, understanding the causes and risk factors for prostate cancer can help dog owners and veterinarians make informed decisions about prevention, monitoring, and early detection.

Recognizing Prostate Cancer Symptoms

Recognizing the symptoms of prostate cancer in dogs as soon as possible is critical for early detection and intervention. In this section, we will look at some of the common symptoms of prostate cancer in dogs.

#1. Urinary Symptoms

In affected dogs, prostate cancer can cause a variety of urine symptoms. These symptoms may include peeing difficulty, frequent urination, blood in the urine (hematuria), or straining when urinating. Changes in urine patterns should not be ignored and should be investigated further.

#2. Gastrointestinal Issues

Symptoms of prostate cancer can occasionally affect the digestive system. Dogs may have diarrhea, constipation, appetite changes, and weight loss. Chronic gastrointestinal problems should not be ignored and should be checked by a veterinarian.

Recognizing prostate cancer signs is critical for early discovery and prompt veterinarian care. In the next section, we will explore the diagnostic procedures used to confirm the presence of prostate cancer in dogs.

Prostate Cancer Diagnosis in Dogs

It is critical to detect and correctly diagnose prostate cancer in dogs to provide proper treatment and management. In this section, we will look at the diagnostic tests that veterinarians routinely employ to confirm the existence of prostate cancer in dogs.

#1. Digital Rectal Examination (DRE)

The digital rectal examination (DRE) is a basic diagnostic tool for evaluating the prostate gland. A veterinarian will gently put a greased, gloved finger into the dog’s rectum to palpate the prostate. Abnormalities or irregularities suggestive of prostate cancer can be diagnosed by examining the size, shape, and texture of the gland. A DRE, on the other hand, cannot confirm the presence of cancer but can be used as an initial screening technique.

#2. Imaging Techniques

Imaging techniques are essential diagnostic tools that aid in the diagnosis and stage of prostate cancer in dogs by allowing doctors to see the prostate gland and surrounding structures. The following are the most often utilized imaging modalities:

  • Ultrasound: Ultrasound imaging creates detailed images of the prostate gland by using sound waves. It enables veterinarians to analyze the gland’s size, shape, and interior structure. Suspicious regions, such as masses or nodules, can be visualized and used to guide subsequent diagnostic investigations.
  • X-rays: X-rays, also known as radiographs, can help detect advanced stages of prostate cancer that have spread to the bones or other adjacent tissues. These images can assist in the identification of bone lesions or anomalies associated with cancer metastasis.

#3. Biopsy

A biopsy is the ultimate procedure to determine the presence of prostate cancer in dogs. It entails the acquisition of a tiny tissue sample from the prostate gland for microscopic evaluation by a veterinary pathologist. There are various biopsy techniques:

  • Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA): FNA involves extracting cells from the prostate using a thin needle for analysis. Although this approach can provide basic information regarding the type of cells, it cannot provide a complete diagnosis.
  • Surgical Biopsy: A surgical biopsy may be required in some instances. A little part of the prostate tissue is surgically removed for evaluation. Surgical biopsies are more invasive, but they provide a more precise diagnosis.

#4. Laboratory Tests

Laboratory tests can help with the diagnosis of prostate cancer in dogs. Among these tests are:

  • Blood tests: Blood tests can examine a variety of factors, including prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. PSA values that are elevated may suggest the existence of prostate cancer, but they are not conclusive and can also be elevated owing to other disorders.
  • Urinalysis: Urine analysis on a dog can provide further information. Blood or abnormal cells in the urine may indicate prostate cancer.

A combination of diagnostic procedures, including digital rectal examination, imaging techniques, biopsies, and laboratory tests, is used to confirm the diagnosis of prostate cancer in dogs. These procedures, when paired with the veterinarian’s skill, allow for an accurate diagnosis and the selection of appropriate treatment options. Early detection and diagnosis are critical for delivering the best care possible for dogs with prostate cancer.

Treatment Options for Canine Prostate Cancer

Once a dog’s prostate cancer diagnosis is established, it is critical to examine appropriate treatment alternatives. In this section, we will look at the various treatment options for prostate cancer in dogs.

#1. Surgical Intervention

Surgery as a therapeutic option for prostate cancer in dogs may be considered, especially if the cancer is confined and has not progressed to other organs. To eliminate the malignant tissue, the afflicted prostate gland is removed surgically (prostatectomy). However, total prostate gland removal can be technically challenging and may involve risks and complications.

#2. Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy targets and destroys cancer cells by using high-energy radiation beams. It can be used as a primary therapy technique or in conjunction with surgery to improve the effectiveness of treatment. Radiation therapy can be provided externally (external beam radiation) or internally (brachytherapy) using radioactive sources implanted in the body. Also, this treatment modality tries to decrease tumors, relieve symptoms, and halt disease progression.

#3. Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is the injection of anti-cancer medications into cancer cells that are rapidly dividing. It can be used to target cancer cells throughout the body as a systemic treatment. While chemotherapy is not usually curative in dogs with prostate cancer, it can help manage symptoms, decrease tumor development, and enhance quality of life. Chemotherapy may be prescribed if the cancer has progressed beyond the prostate gland (metastasis) or if other treatment methods are ineffective.

#4. Hormonal Therapy

Hormonal therapy tries to alter the hormonal milieu in the body to prevent prostate cancer cells from growing and spreading. This therapeutic method is frequently used in dogs with hormone-responsive tumors. Hormonal therapy can help limit the course of prostate cancer and ease related symptoms by lowering testosterone levels or preventing its effects. It can be used on its own or in conjunction with other treatments.

#5. Palliative Care and Symptom Management

Palliative care is needed when the cancer is advanced and no curative treatment is available. Also, palliative treatment aims to relieve discomfort, manage symptoms, and improve the dog’s quality of life. To offer comfort and improve well-being, pain medications, anti-inflammatory drugs, and supportive care measures can be used.

The treatment of prostate cancer in dogs necessitates a personalized approach that takes into account aspects such as tumor stage, size, dissemination, and the dog’s overall health. Treatment options include surgical intervention, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and palliative care. Collaboration between veterinarians and pet owners is crucial in selecting the optimal treatment strategy for dogs with prostate cancer to achieve the greatest possible outcome and quality of life.

Palliative Care and Pain Management

Palliative care and pain management become critical in advanced cases or when curative treatment is not possible. Let us look at the strategies used to provide comfort and support during this trying time.

  • Pain Medication: Prostate cancer in dogs, can cause discomfort and pain. Veterinarians may prescribe pain relievers to help the dog’s symptoms and overall well-being.
  • Quality of Life Considerations: During the advanced stages of prostate cancer, the emphasis frequently shifts to preserving the dog’s quality of life. To provide comfort and support, dietary changes, supplements, and alternative therapies may be used.

Prognosis and Follow-up Care

Understanding the prognosis of prostate cancer in dogs and the significance of follow-up care is critical for effective disease management. Let’s take a closer look at these points.

  • Prognosis Factors: The prognosis for dogs with prostate cancer is determined by several factors, including the stage of the cancer, the extent of spread, and the dog’s overall health. Early detection and treatment increase the likelihood of a favorable outcome.
  • Follow-up Care: Following initial treatment, regular follow-up visits with the veterinarian are required to track the dog’s progress. Physical examinations, blood tests, imaging studies, and discussions about the dog’s overall health may be part of these visits. Close contact with the veterinarian ensures that any changes or concerns are addressed as soon as possible.

Emotional Support for Dog Owners

Dealing with a prostate cancer diagnosis in your beloved dog can be emotionally taxing. Let’s talk about how important emotional support is for dog owners during this difficult time.

  • Seeking Assistance: Share your feelings and experiences with friends, family, and support groups. Speaking with others who have been through similar experiences can provide support and understanding.
  • Coping Techniques: Participate in stress-relieving and emotional-well-being activities. Also, this could include things like exercise, meditation, journaling, or spending time with your dog. Remember to look after yourself as you travel through this journey.

Promoting Dog Prostate Health

While prostate cancer cannot always be avoided, promoting prostate health is critical for your dog’s overall health. Let’s look at some strategies for maintaining a healthy prostate.

  • Neutering: Consider having your dog neutered at a young age to reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer. Consult your veterinarian about the best time to have your pet spayed.
  • Regular Veterinary Check-ups: Schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian, especially as your dog ages. These routine visits allow for early detection of any potential concerns, including prostate abnormalities.

What are the signs of prostate cancer in a dog?

Pets may strain to urinate or defecate, and the stools may become flattened or ribbonlike. Other indications may include fatigue, exercise intolerance, reduced appetite, weight loss, and pain (particularly along the back or abdomen).

How long do dogs with prostate cancer live?

As sickness generally progresses after a diagnosis is made, survival time is relatively limited. If no treatment is pursued, euthanasia is usually done within a month of diagnosis. Depending on the treatment utilized, survival time averages roughly 7 months after diagnosis.

How do you treat prostate problems in dogs?

Treatment depends on the underlying cause of prostate enlargement. For dogs with BPH, getting your dog neutered is the first-choice treatment. The prostate inflammation will drop by more than 50% within three weeks and more than 70% in nine weeks.

What antibiotics penetrate the prostate of a dog?

The modest inflammation associated with chronic prostatitis may not damage the blood-prostate barrier, therefore antibiotics that are non-ionized at neutral pH with high-fat solubility (e.g., erythromycin, clindamycin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, or enrofloxacin) are most effective.

Can prostate cancer be cured in dogs?

Unfortunately, because many prostatic malignancies aren’t identified until the final stages, prostate tumors can be exceedingly difficult to treat. And even with treatment, a complete cure is unlikely. Plus, prostate cancer is locally aggressive and can spread swiftly.

How do you check a dog’s prostate?

The prostate exam is performed by the insertion of a gloved finger into the rectum to palpate the prostate. The veterinarian can detect size, shape, and any anomalies as well as establish if there is discomfort related to the gland.

What herbs can I give my dog for prostate?

Some of the herbs that have the most beneficial results are saw palmetto, nettle root, cleavers, and echinacea.


Prostate cancer in dogs may be a hard diagnosis, but with the correct knowledge and support, you can traverse this road with your furry partner. Remember to stay watchful, prioritize regular veterinary check-ups, and seek early treatment if any alarming signs occur. Your veterinarian will walk you through the available treatment options and provide the necessary support to help you provide the best care for your dog. Together, we can continue to increase awareness and improve the well-being of our beloved canine companions.

Related Articles


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like