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Prostatomegaly (Enlarged Prostate) in Dogs

By: Dr. Douglas Brum

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Prostatomegaly is an increase in size of the prostate gland. It is common in the intact male dog, with almost all having the symptom as they age. Neutered male dogs are much less likely to have an enlarged prostate.

The general causes of prostatomegaly include:

  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or cystic hyperplasia. This is the most common cause of prostatomegaly.

  • Squamous metaplasia. This is enlargement of the prostate gland caused by excessive exposure to estrogen.

  • Prostatitis. This is a bacterial infection of the prostate gland.

  • Prostatic abscess. This is a severe form of prostatitis where a pocket of infected fluid develops within the prostate.

  • Paraprostatic cysts. These are large fluid-filled sacs connected to the prostate by a thin stalk.

  • Prostatic neoplasia. Tumors of the prostate gland are all malignant and difficult to treat.

    Prostatomegaly may cause a wide variety of clinical signs. Most animals with prostatomegaly have benign prostatic hyperplasia and are asymptomatic, not showing any clinical signs. However, as the prostate enlarges or clinical disease is present, signs associated with prostatomegaly begin to appear.

    What to Watch For

  • Clear, cloudy, yellow or bloody discharge from the penis
  • Straining to pass stool
  • Passing stool shaped like a ribbon
  • Lethargy
  • Anorexia
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Abdominal distention
  • Straining to urinate
  • Fertility problems in intact male breeding dogs
  • Chronic or recurrent urinary tract (bladder) infections

    Diagnosis

  • History and physical exam, including digital rectal exam
  • Urinalysis
  • Culture and sensitivity of the urine
  • Cytologic (microscopic) evaluation of seminal or prostatic fluid, collected by ejaculate, with culture and sensitivity
  • Prostatic massage and wash for cytology, and culture and sensitivity
  • Abdominal radiographs (X-rays)
  • Abdominal ultrasound with or without prostatic aspiration – inserting a needle and syringe into the tissue and obtaining a small sample for cytologic analysis – or biopsy
  • Clotting profile
  • Complete blood count
  • Biochemical profile
  • Thoracic (chest) radiographs
  • Distention retrograde urethrocystography

    Treatment

    Specific treatment requires a specific diagnosis. General supportive care while a diagnosis is pending might include:

  • Intravenous fluids
  • Intravenous antibiotics
  • Urinary catheterization
  • Analgesic (pain) medication
  • Enemas

    Home Care

    Close follow-up and rechecks are recommended to follow prostatic size. Most animals with enlarged prostates do not require emergency veterinary care. If your pet is ill, has a fever, or is very weak, veterinary care should be sought immediately.

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