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Prostatic Tumors

By: Dr. Douglas Brum

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Prostatic tumors or prostatic neoplasia is cancer of the prostate gland. All tumors of the prostate gland should be considered malignant, as there has not been a report of a benign prostatic tumor. The most common tumor of the prostate is prostatic adenocarcinoma. Transitional cell carcinoma is also seen.

The incidence of prostatic disease is fairly low in dogs, and very rare in cats. The cause of prostatic neoplasia is unknown.

Prostatic cancer may affect any breed of dog, but is usually seen in older (average age is about 9-10 years old), medium to large breed dogs. It only occurs in male animals. Castrated male dogs and intact (non-neutered) male dogs are equally as likely to get prostatic cancer.

What to Watch For

  • Straining to urinate or defecate
  • Blood in the urine
  • Discharge from the penis
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Stiff gait
  • Weakness in the rear limbs
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Anorexia
  • Lethargy

    Diagnosis

  • History and physical exam including digital rectal exam
  • Complete blood count
  • Biochemical profile
  • Urinalysis with culture and sensitivity
  • Cytologic (microscopic) evaluation of seminal or prostatic fluid
  • Prostatic massage and wash for cytology, and culture and sensitivity
  • Abdominal radiographs (X-rays)
  • Abdominal ultrasound with or without prostatic aspiration
  • Distention retrograde urethrocystography
  • Thoracic (chest) radiographs

    Treatment

  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Prostatectomy (the surgical removal of the prostate)

    Home Care and Prevention

    Since most prostatic tumors have a poor response to treatment and a short survival time, the most important part of home care is keeping your pet comfortable. If your pet is painful, analgesics (pain medications) may be used. Both nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (aspirin-like) drugs and narcotics may be used.

    Stool softeners may be used if there is significant straining to defecate or constipation. If your dog is undergoing chemotherapy, periodic blood tests and recheck evaluations may be required.

    There is no prevention for prostatic tumors. Neutering a dog at a young age has not been shown to decrease the incidence of prostatic tumors.

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