PROSTATE CANCER IN DOGS: Symptoms and Treatment


The prostate gland of male dogs is susceptible to prostate cancer. It is most commonly caused by epithelial cells in the prostate. About 1% of male dogs are affected, making it less common than in humans. The prognosis for canine prostate cancer, however, is bleak. Dogs with prostate cancer often start to show symptoms around age 9 or later, but any breed might be affected. Blood in the urine and the dog straining to urinate or defecate are the two most noticeable symptoms. This article will discuss the diagnosis, and treatment of prostate cancer in dogs, as well as end-stage prostate cancer symptoms in dogs.

What is Prostate Cancer in Dogs?

The prostate gland is located towards the neck of the bladder in male dogs, where the urethra exits the bladder. After leaving the bladder, the urethra goes through the prostate gland. Some of the fluid found in sperm is produced by the canine prostate gland.

Prostate cancer develops when the cells of the prostate gland proliferate uncontrollably.  adenocarcinoma is the most frequent kind of prostate cancer in dogs. The average dog at the time of diagnosis is 10 years old. Aging dogs, like human men, can develop benign (harmless) prostate enlargement. In general, dogs rarely develop prostatic cancer.

Although the specific cause of this cancer is unknown, certain risk factors, such as the dog’s environment and genetics, may play a role.
Prostatic adenocarcinoma, like other types of adenocarcinomas, is highly metastatic, meaning it spreads quickly to other places in the body. Also, prostatic adenocarcinoma spreads in around 85% of dogs with this type of cancer.

Prostatic adenocarcinoma is commonly transmitted through the following sites:

  • Other parts of the urinary tract  
  • Lymph nodes  
  • Lungs  
  • Abdominal organs such as the liver and spleen  
  • Bone 

The brain and spinal cord are two uncommon (but reported) locations of spread.

Types of Cancer in Dogs

Only 0.3-0.6% of dogs develop prostate gland cancer. Cancer can start in the prostate gland itself, known as primary prostate cancer, or it can start in another organ and travel to the prostate, known as metastasis. The vast majority of initial prostate tumors are aggressive and highly metastatic. This means that they cause tissue damage and spread swiftly. The most prevalent type of primary cancer in the canine prostate is prostate adenocarcinoma.

Benign or noncancerous tumors (such as leiomyoma) can develop in the prostate, but they are uncommon. Cancers that have spread from other parts of the body are rare, but they can include lymphoma, which is related to the immune system, and transitional cell carcinoma, common cancer seen in and around the bladder.

Symptoms of Prostrate Cancer in Dogs

 the urinary tract is the site of the majority of symptoms of prostate cancer In dogs. The urethra is compressed when the prostate enlarges, resulting in aberrant urinary patterns such as straining to urinate, frequent urination with very tiny amounts of urine produced at a time, blood in the urine, and a complete inability to urinate.

However, symptoms of prostate cancer may extend beyond the urinary tract. Other organs may be impacted if cancer spreads. The mass may infiltrate the bladder, causing more bleeding, infection, and urinary difficulties. If a ureter (the tube that transfers urine from the kidneys to the bladder) becomes clogged, it can cause kidney damage.

The colon may be compressed if the prostatic mass is particularly large. This can result in straining to defecate and unusual-looking feces.


This type of cancer spreads quickly to other surrounding organs, such as:

  • Lungs: Coughing, irregular breathing, fever, loss of appetite, and weight loss may occur.
  • Bones: Lameness may occur at the point of spread. This is characterized by a limp in the affected leg, or even both hind limbs if the spread is in the pelvis.
  • Brain or spinal cord: This can cause neurological impairment, such as the inability to walk or inappropriate behavior.

Causes of Prostate Cancer in Dogs

Prostatic adenocarcinoma can develop in both intact and castrated male dogs, however, the actual cause of cancer in the canine prostate has not been determined.

A few risk factors, such as environment and genetics, may be associated with the development of prostatic adenocarcinoma, although the precise reason remains unknown. A possible correlation has been discovered between early neutering and an increased risk of developing prostate cancer.

End-Stage Prostrate Cancer in Dogs

Cancer that starts in the prostate and spreads to surrounding lymph nodes or other parts of the body is classified as stage 4 prostate cancer. The diagnosis of stage 4 prostate cancer is unusual. Prostate cancer is more frequently discovered at an earlier stage when it is localized to the prostate.

Stage 4 prostate cancer is incurable for the majority, even though treatments can halt or decrease it. Still, cancer treatments can help you live longer and experience fewer cancer symptoms.

Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer in Dogs

Even if your pet exhibits the symptoms listed above, don’t assume he has cancer. Since the symptoms of prostate cancer in dogs are similar to those of kidney and urinary tract infections, the diagnosis may be difficult.

This condition can go undiagnosed until it reaches an advanced stage and begins to spread. Clinical symptoms, sophisticated diagnostic imaging, and cytology of prostate cells are used to identify canine prostate cancer.

The veterinarian will start a complete physical examination of your pet to examine prostate health, especially in older males. Abdominal and rectal palpation may be performed to discover prostate gland abnormalities or tumors in the abdomen.

Urinalysis, contrast X-rays, ultrasound imaging, and a biopsy of the rectal wall are further diagnostics that can be used to detect an enlarged prostate in dogs.
X-rays aid in the detection of metastases, whereas ultrasound, indicates whether the prostate is enlarged or contains polyps, cysts, or tumors.

A sample of cells can be obtained through catheterization (insertion of a catheter into the urethra to access the prostate) or tiny needle aspiration of the prostate gland.

When neither of the two methods can be used to make a diagnosis, a biopsy may be necessary. Because not all enlarged prostates are malignant, removing a tissue sample confirms whether the tumor is cancerous.

If a case of cancer is discovered, the examination will enable the veterinarian to identify cancer. Additional lab tests may be performed to check that the internal organs are functioning normally and that no alterations have occurred.

Treatment Prostrate Cancer In Dogs

Dogs’ prostate cancer treatment is complicated and depends on several factors. There is no such thing as the best cancer treatment for dogs; it varies from person to person, and it is occasionally a combination of several treatments.
The treatment options for prostate cancer in dogs are listed below.

#1. Surgical Treatment.

The canine prostate gland is removed as part of the surgical treatment for prostate cancer (prostatectomy). This is a high-risk procedure, and whether the prostate cancer has spread to other organs will determine how effective it is. Also, older dogs are more likely to experience anesthetic problems.

#2. Radiation therapy.

Radiation therapy can be performed alone or in conjunction with surgery. The urinary blockage brought on by big, compressing prostate tumors in dogs is treated with radiation.

#3. Chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy is a different treatment option for canine prostate cancer. For dogs who have metastases, treatment is considered. However, it is uncertain if chemotherapy is a viable treatment option for prostatic cancer.

#4. Non-Steroid Anti-Inflammatory Drugs. 

Dogs with prostate cancer can benefit from taking piroxicam and carprofen. Although they are not a treatment, they may alleviate symptoms.

#5. Bisphosphonates.

Bisphosphonates are a class of drugs that were initially designed to treat osteoporosis in humans. These drugs are used to treat metastatic abnormalities in the lumbar vertebrae and pelvic bones.

#6. Cannabidiol (CBD) Products.

Cannabidiol is a natural, holistic treatment that may benefit dogs suffering from prostate cancer. CBD, specifically, can help with some cancer symptoms. Honest Paws CBD oil is highly recommended.

What Can I Do to Stop Prostate Cancer in Dogs?

Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer for preventing cancer in dogs. This is because it is unknown what exactly causes prostate cancer in dogs.
The best thing you can do as a pet parent is to provide a high-quality diet, encourage physical activity, use health-boosting vitamins, and schedule frequent veterinary checkups. Senior dogs require more than one annual veterinary appointment due to the prevalence of prostate illness in older dogs.

How Long Does a Dog Have to Live with Prostate Cancer?

Dogs with prostate cancer have a low survival span, usually 7 months after diagnosis. The exact prognosis, as in all situations, is determined by the stage of the prostate tumor, the dog’s overall health, and the type of treatment.

For dogs with prostate cancer in an advanced stage, the average survival period is substantially lower. In such instances, the owner should think about euthanasia. If the dog’s quality of life is seriously damaged, euthanasia should be considered.

Recovery and Management of Prostate Cancer in Dogs

If sickness is diagnosed early, before it has spread, more definite treatment may be given to increase survival time. Once cancer has spread, clinical indications are frequently managed until the disease has progressed too far to be controlled.

Overall, prostatic adenocarcinoma has a dismal prognosis. When the quality of life has worsened or the clinical indicators cannot be controlled, euthanasia may be required.

How long do dogs live with prostate cancer?

Survival times following diagnosis average around 7 months, depending on the treatment used. Because diseases are frequently advanced once a diagnosis is obtained, the window of opportunity for recovery is extremely small. If no treatment is sought, euthanasia is usually carried out within a month of the diagnosis.

What are the signs of prostate cancer in dogs?

Pets may struggle to urinate or defecate, resulting in flat or ribbon-like feces. Other symptoms may include fatigue, difficulty exercising, a loss of appetite, weight loss, and soreness (especially along the back or abdomen).

Are dogs in pain with prostate cancer?

Yes. Prostate cancer in dogs is frequently advanced and does not respond to androgen deprivation therapy. In the pelvis and/or lumbar spine, affected dogs frequently develop osteoblastic bone metastases, which are accompanied by discomfort and neurological impairments.

What age do dogs get prostate cancer?

5 years. The prostate of a dog might grow larger as it ages. This growth puts strain on the surrounding structures. In practically all dogs over the age of 5, BPH produces some degree of prostate enlargement. This might result in minor discomfort as well as difficulty defecating and/or urinating.

How can I help my dog with prostate cancer?

Prognosis and Treatment Options

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are the main alternatives for treatment if your dog is diagnosed with prostate cancer. Chemotherapy: While not a cure, chemotherapy can help limit the growth and spread of prostatic tumors, extending your dog’s life.

What are the signs of the end of life with prostate cancer?

What will happen in the coming days?

  • Pain.
  • Sleeping and drowsiness.
  • Failure to recognize people.
  • Being irritated or restless.
  • Alterations in skin temperature or color.
  • Breathing changes.
  • Appetite loss.
  • Alterations in urination or bowel movements.


Cancer does not have to indicate the end of our canine companions’ lives. Understand that research is ongoing to find new methods for treating prostate cancer in dogs. Indeed, there have been numerous advancements with improved treatments to enhance survival rates.

We recognize that your dog is an important member of your family, and you want to provide the best care possible. Always visit a veterinarian when it comes to your health. If your dog has canine prostate cancer, talk to your vet about treatment choices and the best course of action to give him the best chance of survival.

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