Issue Description Prostate cancer is a disease in which cancer
develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. It
occurs when cells of the prostate mutate and begin to multiply out of
control. These cells may spread (metastasize) from the prostate to
other parts of the body, especially the bones and lymph nodes. Other Names Prostrate Cancer
Causes The cause of canine prostate cancer is unknown.
Symptoms The first noticeable symptoms of prostate
cancer in dogs are normally urinary and bowel difficulties. There may
be blood in the urine, painful urination, or continual straining to
urinate. These symptoms often mimic a bladder infection as the
cancerous prostate gland enlarges and affects the bladder and urethra.
In advanced cases of prostate cancer, symptoms include lethargy,
decreased appetite, depression, pain, and weakness in the back legs.
Two of the most common symptoms of canine prostate cancer include
general pain and weight loss. The prostate gland will become enlarged
and push against the wall of your dog's urethra. This will make it
very difficult for him to urinate and blood may be present in the
urine. Also, canine prostate cancer usually weakens a dog's hind legs.
You may notice that your dog has an arched back and takes shorter
steps while walking.
Diagnosis Initial diagnosis of prostate cancer in dogs is
done by using x-rays and abdominal ultrasound, and testing urine
samples. If cancer is suspected, a biopsy of the rectal wall is
necessary for a conclusive diagnosis.
Treatment Unfortunately, options of canine prostate
cancer treatment are limited. Surgical removal of the prostate is not
recommended in dogs because complications such as urinary incontinence
can arise. Very often, only chemotherapy is recommended to try to
shrink the prostate. However, even this treatment is far from
effective and usually fails to give the dog patient any relief of
discomfort. It also does not significantly extend the patient's life.
Prognosis As prostate cancer is highly aggressive, and
symptoms do not normally appear until the cancer has become advanced,
prognosis for this cancer is very poor. Surgery for prostate cancer is
often unsuccessful, and it is a very difficult surgery to perform.
Chemotherapy and radiation treatments are often unsuccessful as well
in advanced cases. In addition, strong doses of chemotherapy and
radiation are needed to combat this cancer, and the dog's health and
quality of life can become severely affected by these therapies.