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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.

Prostate Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) Average Cost

From 53 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $12,000

Average Cost

$6,500

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
  • Pain
  • General weakness
  • Weight loss
  • Fever

Types

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

Adenocarcinoma

  • 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
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Prostate Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) Average Cost

From 53 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $12,000

Average Cost

$6,500

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Prostate Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Max

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Weimaraner

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7 Years

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Mild severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Blood In Urine
Difficulty Urinating
Enlarged Prostate

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?

Sept. 14, 2018

Max's Owner

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Snowball

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Shizu

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8 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Bloody Urine

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.

June 23, 2018

Snowball's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

I certainly wouldn't wait long if his urine is that bloody. If he started the antibiotics today, and infection is the reason for this problem, if he isn't better within about 24 hours, x-rays are probably a good next option, as ShihTzus are prone to bladder stones.

June 23, 2018

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Teddy

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Italian Greyhound

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8 Years

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Serious severity

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3 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Frequent Urination

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.

April 30, 2018

Teddy's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

At this stage you would be looking at palliative care as opposed to a curative treatment, I am sure your Oncologist is more aware of Teddy’s situation and the current advancements in the field of oncology than myself (a General Veterinarian). If you are looking for a specialist second opinion, you should have the medical records and radiology images sent to PetRays for review by a board certified Oncologist. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM http://petrays.com/specialists/oncology/

May 1, 2018

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Jack

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Miniature Schnauzer

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11 Years

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Critical severity

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0 found helpful

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Breathing Difficulties

Our sweet, 11-year-old miniature schnauzer showed no signs or symptoms of anything sinister. He had his annual checkup 8 weeks ago, and everything was great and normal. Fast-forward five weeks, and our boy started exhibiting rapid, shallow breathing. We were shocked and devastated to learn that he had prostate cancer that had metastasized to his kidney and lungs. He has now had fluid drawn out of his chest 3 times and is on a diuretic. Both our general vet and a veterinary oncologist said that, with the advanced disease, treatment would not buy us significant time. We have chosen to keep him comfortable at home. We know our clock is short, but we are soaking up every moment with this sweet boy. We asked repeatedly if there were signs we missed. His urine output was normal, no blood. His fecal output was normal, no blood. He and our other mini-schnauzer chased each other in greyhound racetrack manner around our pool up until 3 weeks ago. It has happened so quickly, and we are devastated. It's not always anything you miss or can prevent. Cancer is relentless, and, sadly, sometimes very sneaky. My prayers to anyone experiencing the same heartbreak.

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Bogi

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cockapoo

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11 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Bleeding, Diabetes

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.

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Einstein

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Westiepoo

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10 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Ribbon-Shaped Stool
Frequent Attempts To Urinate

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.

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Thor

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American Bulldog

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6 Years

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Bleeding

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?

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Bear

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Dachshund

dog-age-icon

9 Years

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Critical severity

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3 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Straining To Urinate

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.

Prostate Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) Average Cost

From 53 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $12,000

Average Cost

$6,500

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