Prostatitis (Inflammation of the Prostate) in Dogs

Overview of Prostatitis (Inflammation of the Prostate) in Dogs

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

Symptoms of Prostatitis in dogs may include:

Diagnosis of Prostatitis in Dogs

Treatment of Prostatitis in Dogs

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.

In-depth Information on Canine Prostatitis

The most common cause of prostatitis is believed to be ascending infection from the urethra. The prostate can also become infected from infections in the bladder, kidneys or blood. If other forms of prostatic disease are present, such as cysts, neoplasia or squamous metaplasia, the prostate may be predisposed to developing a secondary infection. E. coli is the most common bacterium that causes infection.

There are actually two different clinical presentations of prostatitis in the dog: acute and chronic. These two forms of the disease often present very differently, and require a different work-up and different therapy. In acute prostatitis, animals are usually quite ill and may even require emergency care. Animals are usually febrile and may have significant abdominal pain. Some dogs may even present with a critical blood infection (septicemia). On the other hand, dogs with chronic disease are generally much more stable or and have no clinical symptoms.

Signs of chronic prostatitis are may be subtle and include: chronic intermittent urinary tract disease, intermittent discharge from the urethra, weight loss, and infertility in the breeding animal. Chronic prostatitis may develop after acute prostatitis is treated. Many times the diagnosis of the chronic disease is difficult to confirm and a prostatic biopsy is required for definitive diagnosis.

Other diseases that may cause similar clinical signs as prostatitis include:

In-depth Information on Diagnosis of Prostatitis in Dogs

A complete history and physical examination is the first step in obtaining an accurate diagnosis. An intact male dog with a fever, pain in the area of the prostate, and blood or pus in the urine has a high index of suspicion having acute pancreatitis. Dogs with acute prostatitis are usually quite ill and their prostate is generally painful. The diagnosis is usually more apparent in the acute condition and may require fewer diagnostics than in the chronic disease.

Achieving a diagnosis of chronic prostatitis is more difficult as there are less consistent clinical signs. In chronic prostatitis, it is even typical that there is no prostatic pain. The diagnostic evaluation and potential results vary significantly depending if the disease is acute or chronic.

Cases of acute prostatitis usually do not require an aspirate or biopsy in order to obtain a tentative diagnosis. However, it may be very useful in chronic cases since ultrasound alone cannot differentiate chronic prostatitis from neoplasia or hyperplasia. Fine needle aspiration is less invasive than a biopsy, and may be used to collect fluid from cysts or obtain small cell samples from the prostatic tissue for cytologic evaluation (microscopic evaluation of the cells obtained). A biopsy, however, provides a better sample as a core of tissue is obtained for histopathology (microscopic examination of tissue). Biopsy usually provides more accurate information about the pathology of the prostate, since a larger amount of tissue can be evaluated.

In-depth Information on the Treatment of Prostatitis in Dogs

The treatment for prostatitis varies depending on whether the disease is acute or chronic. Acute prostatitis is a much more critical condition than chronic prostatitis and requires more immediate and aggressive care. When evaluating a dog for chronic prostatitis, it is generally appropriate to wait until a definitive diagnosis has been established prior to beginning therapy. In this way, appropriate antibiotic therapy may be started based on culture and sensitivity results. This may not be an option in some of the acute cases since the animal may require emergency treatment before the diagnostic test results are back.

The decision as to when to begin therapy depends on the clinical assessment of the patient. In general, a more rapid treatment is required for the acute disease, and a longer treatment course is needed for the chronic condition. Although animals are sicker with the acute disease, it is generally easier to achieve a complete cure than with the chronic disease. Dogs with chronic prostatitis are more likely to have a continued intermittent problem despite therapy. Chronic prostatitis is a difficult disease to cure. Specific treatment includes:

Follow-up Care of Dogs with Prostatitis

Optimal treatment for your cat requires a combination of home and professional veterinary care. Follow-up can be critical, especially if your cat does not improve rapidly.