Prostate problems that affect our dogs include prostate infections, enlargement, and prostate cancer. Neutering is the best way to prevent most prostate problems in dogs (but not prostate cancer). This page looks at some common prostate problems in dogs, the symptoms, and conventional treatment. Natural remedies can be used to support the prostate gland.
The dog prostate gland lies within the pelvis just behind the bladder and directly below the rectum. Its function is to supply the fluid that transports sperm.
Dogs neutered before puberty cannot produce the male hormone testosterone, without which the prostate gland does not develop. If a dog is neutered after maturity, the gland will shrink to less that one-fourth of its previous size and cease functioning within a few months.
For dogs that are neutered, therefore, they seldom have problems with their prostates, although they might still develop prostate cancer.
On the other hand, many intact dogs develop some form of prostate problems when they become older, although problems can arise in much younger dogs (sometimes as young one to two years old) if they are intact but are sexually inactive. Generally speaking, however, prostate problems in dogs start appearing when the dogs are around 6.
Enlargement of the prostate, medically known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or prostate hypertrophy, is by far the most common prostate problem among intact male dogs. It is not cancerous but a normal aging process of the gland. As such, this canine prostate problem affects almost all intact dogs over 4-5 years of age. When the prostate is starting to swell, it presses against the rectum, causing discomfort. If untreated, and when the gland continues to enlarge, it very often causes problem with both urination and defecation.
Another common prostate problem is inflammation, which may be caused by bacterial infections. Bacteria can get into the prostate via the blood system or from the urinary tract. When inflammation is present, you can find blood in your dog's urine. The blood will come at the end of urination rather than throughout urination.
Cancer of the prostate is uncommon in dogs. However, when they do occur, they are usually malignant and potentially life threatening. It is difficult to control or treat due to the delicate location of this gland (around the junction of the bladder and the urethra). Surgical removal of the prostate in dogs may result in urinary incontinence. Only short-term remission and/or relief is possible through radiation and medical therapy.
Dogs with prostate problems show some of the following signs:
For bacterial infections of the prostate gland, antibiotics are usually prescribed. Most often, the veterinarians recommend castration for any prostate disease because after the testosterone-producing testicles are removed, the prostate gland will shrink and the condition is much easier to treat.
To prevent future prostate problems in a male dog, therefore, many veterinarians suggest having the dog neutered by puberty. This will prevent over 90% of all prostate problems in the course of the dog's life.
Quite a few natural remedies and supplements, such as herbs, homeopathic remedies, minerals and vitamins, can be used to treat some dog prostate problems. Please visit this page for more information.