What is Prostate Cancer (Adenocarcinoma)?
The prostate gland in male dogs is located between the bladder and the rectum, with the urethra, the tube that transports urine from the bladder out of the body, passing through it. This gland responds to testosterone as well as other hormones, and it is important in semen production. Many dogs have some type of prostate enlargement as they age, which may turn out to be a precancerous condition, especially in castrated dogs. Most prostate cancers arise from the glandular ductal tissue and are considered adenocarcinoma. This a very fast growing malignant type of cancer that is quick to metastasize and spread to other areas of the body, especially the nearby lymph nodes, the pelvis, and vertebrae in the lower back. Metastasis to the lungs usually takes place in the later stages of the disease. A transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) is another type of tumor that can develop on the part of the urethra that passes through the prostate. TCC is much slower growing and less likely to metastasize than adenocarcinoma, but unfortunately it can sometimes be difficult to tell the two apart. Prostate cancer has similar symptoms to other types of prostate disease. Tumors enlarge the prostate gland so that it presses on the urethra and makes urination difficult. Some dogs have blood in their urine. Depending on the size and placement of the tumor, it may put pressure on the rectum and cause problems with defecation as well. Other symptoms can include abnormal posture or walk, pain, and general signs of illness. Treatment for prostate cancer can be difficult since surgery in this area is not always possible.
Prostate cancer is a common problem in older male dogs. Most tumors of the prostate are a malignant type of glandular cancer, called adenocarcinoma. Adenocarcinoma is an aggressive cancer that spreads quickly to other parts of the body.
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Symptoms of Prostate Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) in Dogs
Seek veterinary treatment immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms.
- Difficulty urinating (stranguria)
- Blood in the urine (hematuria)
- Frequent attempts to urinate
- Difficulty defecating
- Lameness in the hind legs
- Abnormal posture (especially while urinating)
- Abnormal gait with short steps
- General weakness
- Weight loss
These are the most common types of prostate disease in older dogs.
Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH)
- Prostate enlargement that is usually triggered by the long-term effect of testosterone; often a precancerous condition especially in castrated dogs
- A carcinoma arising from the glandular tissue in the prostate, the most common and most malignant type of prostate cancer
Transitional cell carcinoma (TCC)
- A carcinoma arising from the lining to the urethra in the prostate; this is as slower growing and less malignant type of cancer than adenocarcinoma
Causes of Prostate Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) in Dogs
The exact cause for any type of cancer can be difficult to trace. The risk for prostate cancer increases with age, and most cases are diagnosed in male dogs over eight years old. Veterinarians disagree somewhat about the role of hormones in prostate cancer, but instances are generally believed to be higher in castrated animals.
Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) in Dogs
The symptoms of prostate cancer are often non-specific since they can also be associated with other types of prostate disease, as well as kidney or bladder infection. The veterinarian will complete a thorough physical examination, including rectal palpation, to check for signs of an enlarged or abnormally shaped prostate. Small samples of cancerous cells can often be found with urinalysis, so this is often an effective way of confirming suspected prostate cancer. Bloodwork will also be taken to evaluate for infection or systemic illness, which might suggest another cause for your dog’s symptoms.
Ultrasound of the abdomen will help to evaluate the size and shape of the prostate more accurately, as well as check for local metastasis. An ultrasound guided biopsy may be necessary to obtain a larger sample of the tumor and diagnose the type of cancer and the degree of malignancy, if possible. Further X-rays of the bones or lungs may be ordered to check for metastasis to these areas. About 80% of dogs with prostatic adenocarcinoma have some type of metastasis present upon diagnosis.
Treatment of Prostate Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) in Dogs
Tumors of the prostate gland are rarely treatable with surgery. In dogs, removal of the entire prostate gland usually results in incontinence, and, with the common rate of metastasis, this isn’t an effective way of eliminating the cancer. NSAID’S are often given to prolong survival time, especially drugs like piroxicam or carprofen. This treatment increases the median survival time for dogs with prostate cancer to about 7 months. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy combined with NSAID’s can provide a somewhat more affected treatment. Chemotherapy injections given approximately every three weeks increases median survival time to about 10 or 11 months. Chemotherapy appointments will last for at least an hour and a half and dogs often have significant gastrointestinal side effects.
Radiation therapy combined with chemotherapy and NSAID’s is the most effective treatment, with a survival time of about 20 months. Intensity-modulated image-guided radiation treatment (IM/IGRT) is more effective than external beam radiation for this type of tumor. There is still some chance that dogs will become incontinent with this treatment, since radiation can result in fibrous tissue build-up in the bladder. Other side effects include gastrointestinal or genitourinary toxicosis. Dogs often need to be hospitalized during radiation treatment so that veterinary nurses can monitor the side effects.
Recovery of Prostate Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) in Dogs
The chances of recovery can vary quite a bit based on the aggressiveness of the tumor and the time of diagnosis. If the cancer is found early, before metastasis is present, chemotherapy and radiation treatment may be effective. If significant metastasis has already taken place, the veterinarian may recommend against this type of treatment, and manage your dog’s illness symptomatically as long as possible. The best way to deal with prostate cancer is to monitor your dog closely, especially as he ages. Diagnosing prostate disease in the precancerous stages can help give your dog the highest chance of effective treatment.
Prostate Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
My dog is 6 and has blood pouring from his penis. There is no blood in his urine and no damage/masses/cuts/trauma to the penis. He's been bleeding for 5 days now. Blood and urine come back normal, X-ray and rectal exam show that his prostate is enlarged, no stones detected. Eating drinking urinating and defecating all normal, but he still continues to bleed from his penis.. causing him to have to wear a diaper we have contrapted. Vet and second opinion cannot determine where or why the bleeding is happening as there is no sign of any trauma. Curious to know if anyone else has experienced this at all? Vet seems to think that because he is intact that the testosterone is causing the englarment of the prostate, causing it to push on and break blood vessel to the ureter and the bleeding coming from the front of the penis. He thinks neutering would fix this problem and if not then to do an ultrasound. This has happened once last year where he was bleeding the same way, all tests were normal, rectal and X-ray showed prostate to be normal and no stones. Stumped as to whether or not this could be a precursor to prostate cancer?
Also his prostate was found to be enlarged on the ultrasound and was hard to the touch during the operation. We may have perhaps a month or 2 to make his last days the happiest he's ever been and will be spoiled rotten until the end of his days. I hope he's with me at least until Xmas I have had him from I was 15. He has grown up with me and has been such a lovely loyal staffy, I really hope you get answers soon!
Best of luck
Sorry forgot to mention boss is 12 years young and still gets on like a big pup.
Hi I have a staffy his name is boss 😁. Unfortunately as of may/June 2017 boss started to bleed from his penis then blood was in his urine. This continued and got worse even after many different antibiotics. He had a needle biopsy, xrays and ultrasound. It was confirmed that there was a ecoli infection of the prostate. After starting the course of antibiotics boss had a reduction of blood from his penis and urine. Unfortunately when boss stopped the antibiotics he started to have blood in his urine. This progressed to boss having blood in his stool and quite a lot of blood dripping from both passages. I changed vet who carried out further needle biopsy , xrays, bloods, ultrasound, urinalysis and sent samples to lab. No definitive diagnostics was concluded apart from presents of ecoli. I had to make a decision weather to put him through a invasive open prostate and bladder biopsy or let him continue to bleed if not on antibiotics (many different types). As I didn't think it was fair to watch him continue to pass blood I had to agree with surgery as hoping this would give us a accurate diagnosis to how bad his condition was. Boss got his surgery last Friday as fighting this infection after many months an no improvement in his condition. Boss has now developed an open sore near his incision which is yellow and oozing with blood. His results came back today 30/11/18. Boss unfortunately has a prostate carcinoma ( prostate cancer) and is on further antibiotics and tramadol for pain relief. He has been very tired after the operation but is back to his old self from the passed couple of days. His mood is improving and he is playing a bit more now. He will be on pain relief and tramadol for approx another week. Unfortunately he will be put to rest when his quality of life gets poor but for now he getting on ok. I would recommend xrays, ultrasound, urinalysis, mri, C.T, and if needed biopsy of bladder and prostate. I hope you get sorted and it's nothing to sinister. I also hope by reading this you can keep an eye out for any symptoms mentioned and take the Action to get your dog the best treatment asap. Regards Kyle
Read more at: https://wagwalking.com/condition/prostate-cancer-adenocarcinoma
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My dog Bear had been experiencing a difficulty urinating (neutered male) for a couple weeks. The vet determined that he had a UTI. I put him on the antibiotics, but two weeks of it and he was basically the same. His bladder would be beyond full but he couldn't get rid of the urine except for drips here and there. The next appointment the vet found that his prostate was enlarged, and we briefly put him on Enrofloxacin and Gabapentin. The next day I had taken him to the ER vet clinic because he hadn't been able to expel any urine in 24 hours. It was there that I say the x-rays. His bladder was easily three times it's normal size, and there was calcification in the prostate. They determined that it was prostatic cancer, more specifically adrenocarcinoma. More x-rays showed that it had metastasized and spread to the lungs and bladder. They could not even get a small catheter in him because it felt like it was blocked. I had to make the difficult decision to spare him any more pain, and put him down. There would have been nothing but pain for him here on out. He was my baby for nine years.
Reading all of these comments corroborates my worst suspicions! My beloved Big Boy Batman , part Staff, part lab/Border collie Has all of those symptoms listed and was seen by several vets before one finally did an an ultrasound and saw cysts in the prostate. She also emptied his bladder with a catheter since it was filled with urine he could not expel! He had been having problems defecating for a month or two so we did fecal tests and others .
But now I fear when the urine culture comes back on Monday there will be cancer cells in it.
The vets say aspirating the tumor will only rupture cysts and cause him extreme pain and surgery is not ever advised for this in dogs. Batman is active and happy and runs around our large space chasing squirrels and barking. He is a joyous, beautiful dog and I am stunned and so depressed over this I keep hoping it's only an infection.
He is on the strongest anti-inflammatory: Loxicom, also Baytrin antibiotic, and for pain :Gabapentin. But he licks his penis constantly and his licking gets his beds wet and can make his penis bleed. It's heartbreaking to see this brave dog never complain and act normal with all that is going on in his bladder and his bowel . He is only 9 or 10 years and a faithful rescue from a kill shelter who guards our pack of many Chihuahua/Maltese mixes and his terrier mix friend Robin! He defers to the small dogs and even lets them have his food! His is my big black and white baby and he is having to face this torment. I am sick do death with these diseases that make these poor little angels suffer so! I lost our fantastic chihuahua at 16yrs to CHF Congestive Heart Failure (he lasted one year after diagnosis on Vetmedin and Furosemide and now our other chihuahua/Corgi mix has CHF and is still going almost 2 years after diagnosis thanks to the Vetmedin and Furosemide.
I just cannot imagine putting my jolly happy Batman down and yet how can I let him suffer so??? I guess I can take him to the vet to have his bladder emptied for as long as that gives him relief and he feels good.
My girlfriend gave me CBD Oil for dogs in small moist little treats. She said it is very expensive . I will try them tomorrow 5 hours after he takes the meds and observe him.
After reading all of your comments, I feel worse than ever because they explain perfectly the suffering and tragedy that this disease causes. I have a book on Pet Cancer from Ty and Charlene, alternative treatment cancer specialist on the internet . It is CDs and books for $97.00 . I am going to read it thoroughly and see if there is anything else I can do . This is my worst nightmare but I have to thank you all for these comments . It's the reality of this diagnosis that is so horrifying because there is no real cure and your dog will suffer so. I just never expected my big brave tough guy would end up like this so soon.....so unfair, so cruel....
My heart goes out to all of you and your loving dogs that have suffered through this.
My beautiful border collie Diesel also had prostate cancer at 9 years of age. We made the terrible decision to end his pain and it was the hardest thing we ever had to do we love and miss him so much. 😭💔
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Einstein was diagnosed last week with prostate cancer after months of ribbon-shaped stool. Doc had previously tested feces for parasites and the like. A couple weeks ago, he started trying to pee when he clearly didn’t need to and was obviously straining. On rectal examination, vet could feel an enlarged prostate and x-rays revealed a very enlarged and opaque prostate. She said that most dogs with this diagnosis are euthanized within 2 weeks. However, piroxicam was prescribed and Einstein continues to have high energy and seems to be spending less time trying to go when he doesn’t have to. Stool is larger and easier to pass than it has been. I have found three clinical studies that suggest median survival rate for prostate cancer dogs on piroxicam is 5.9-6.9 months, so I don’t understand where my vet came up with this two week survival. There is no sign of metastasis nor is there blood present in urine or stool. Since my dog has already had ribbon-shaped stool for 6 months, is that why his prognosis is so poor on piroxicam...or does my vet just not know? I just can’t foresee him deteriorating that quickly when his appetite is still voracious, he laps up water and outhiked me on our 5-miler just yesterday.
Please see other vet and get every possible tests for him related to prostate if it’s cancer you will not know and it deteriorate within days and it will be too late for you then I lost mine a year ago as I couldn’t understand symptoms and he was active as a horse even at 15years young age and my vet was dumb. Until 2months before I let him go when he said take second opinion
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I have an 11 year old Cockapoo who suddently started dripping blood after urinating in early March. I took him in right away to the vet and we had x-rays and an ultra sound done. It showed prostate cancer. I even had a test sent into the lab to very it was cancer. Sadly it was. I was given several options from Piroxicam to Chemo or Radiation. I chose to just do the Piroxicam since the other two options would only give him a few extra days to a week of life. Now it's early October and he is now in a diaper and we have to change it 2-3 times a day and it is full of blood. On top of that he was diagnosed with diabetes in early July so we've had to give him insulin injections. I'm assuming this is a sign the cancer is progressing. It's hard since I don't think it's time to say goodbye yet since he is still active and full of life yet the bleeding is very worrisome.
We added an antibiotic to the Piroxicam and got the bleeding to stop.
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We have an 7 year old Weimeriner/Lab Mix. We notice drops of blood on occasion and weak urination. His appetite is good as is his bowel movements. He is not acting like he is sick. We are getting an ultrasound next week for his prostate. Could there be anything else going on besides cancer?
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Our mixed breed, 8 year old Italian Greyhound/dachschund male, Teddy, was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma. It has metastitised to his spine and muscles, but no other major organs yet. The oncologist is recommending palliative radiation. This seems like a last resort option and I am hesitant because Teddy is acting and eating normally except for his exaggerated posturing while peeing. I don't want to do more harm than good. I'm looking for other treatment options. I have started him on Apocaps, K-9 Immunity, and CBD oil. I'd like another opinion about options.
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My 8 year old dog urinates thick blood. He appears to behave normal though. I took him to the vet and he gave me some pretty expensive options, so I only settled for an antibiotic injection and two different antibiotics given twice a day for 7 days. My dogs urine doesn't look like urine anymore though. It's only blood now and somewhat thick. How long do you think I should wait before it gets worse? My dog just started the antibiotics today.
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