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Prostatitis in Dogs

By: Dr. Douglas Brum

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Prostatitis is a bacterial infection of the prostate gland. Infection of the prostate may be caused by disease of the urethra, which is the small tube where urine flows from the bladder through the penis, other urinary tract infections, or may be secondary to other forms of prostatic disease.

It occurs more commonly in intact (not neutered) male dogs, and older dogs are at greater risk than younger dogs. It occurs in both acute (sudden) and chronic (long standing) forms of prostatitis, but animals with the acute form are generally more debilitated than with the chronic form. It is not a significant clinical disease in cats.

Clinical signs of prostatitis vary with the severity of the infection and whether the disease is acute or chronic.

What to Watch For

  • Fever
  • Cloudy or bloody discharge from the penis
  • Blood in the urine
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Stiff gait
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Straining to urinate or defecate
  • Anorexia
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Chronic intermittent urinary tract infections
  • Infertility in a breeding male

    Diagnosis

  • History and physical exam including digital rectal exam
  • Urinalysis
  • Culture and sensitivity of the urine
  • 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
  • Clotting profile
  • Complete blood count
  • Biochemical profile

    Treatment

  • Antibiotics are typically given for a minimum 4 weeks
  • Intravenous fluids may be required in acute prostatitis
  • Analgesic or pain medications
  • Neutering may be recommended

    Home Care and Prevention

    Recheck examinations 7 to 14 days later are strongly suggested, as follow-up prostatic palpation is recommended. Abnormal blood tests should also be re-evaluated; the urine or a sample of the prostatic fluid may need to be re-cultured at this time.

    Make sure the urine color is becoming more clear if it was abnormal when your pet was ill. Your pet should continue to improve on therapy at home, but relapses may occur, especially with chronic disease. If there is any deterioration in condition, or recurrence of clinical signs, notify your veterinarian.

    Cultures of urine and or prostatic fluid might be recommended after finishing the antibiotics.

    Neutering a dog before reaching sexual maturity may decrease the incidence of prostatitis.

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