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What is Prostate Enlargement?

An enlarged prostate gland may affect your dog’s bowel movements or urination, or it may not cause any symptoms. As the prostate interacts closely with the bladder, prostate enlargement may be a secondary symptom of a bladder condition. Prostatomegaly is most likely to be found in adult dogs middle aged and older and only occurs in male dogs. It is more common in unneutered dogs, occurring at a rate of 80% of unneutered males over the age of 8. While prostate enlargement is most likely benign, it is imperative to seek a veterinary diagnosis promptly, as it has several severe and even life-threatening potential causes.

A dog’s prostate gland is situated between the bladder and the rectum and produces prostatic fluid and is regulated by a dog’s testosterone. The abnormal enlargement of a dog’s prostate gland is medically referred to as prostatomegaly.

Prostate Enlargement Average Cost

From 15 quotes ranging from $300 - $12,000

Average Cost

$1,800

Symptoms of Prostate Enlargement in Dogs

Your dog may or may not exhibit symptoms beyond the enlargement of the prostate gland itself, and it may or may not feel pain as a result of the enlargement. Potential additional symptoms include:

  • Pain during and trouble urinating
  • Pain during and trouble defecating
  • Pain during and trouble walking, coupled with a hindered gait (short steps, stiff rear legs)
  • Constipation
  • Abnormal stools
  • Pain, ranging from mild discomfort to severe pain
Types
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia - Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, or BPH, is the most common cause of prostate enlargement. It occurs as a natural part of aging in the majority of unneutered male dogs, but does not occur in neutered male dogs. As the dog ages, the gland goes into hypertrophy, which means that the number and size of the cells in the prostate gland increase. As a result of BPH, benign cysts may develop. This condition puts pressure on surrounding tissue and may cause discomfort.

Bacterial Infection - The second most common cause of prostate enlargement, bacteria may enter the prostate through the blood system or urinary tract and cause an infection. Bacterial infections may be acute or chronic and may present as abscesses, which are pockets of pus that form within the gland. Along with the typical symptoms of an enlarged prostate, those caused by bacterial infection are likely to also cause an elevated fever.

Cancer - Prostatic cancer is rare in dogs, accounting for less than 10% of enlarged prostate cases; however, they are difficult to treat, are typically malignant and can be life-threatening. Prostatic cancers often metastasize into the liver, lungs, kidneys, lymph nodes, spine, and pelvic bones. Prostate enlargement may also occur as the result of another cancer metastasizing, often transitional cell carcinoma (cancer of the urinary system).

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Causes of Prostate Enlargement in Dogs

Prostatic cancer is rare in dogs, accounting for less than 10% of enlarged prostate cases; however, they are difficult to treat, are typically malignant and can be life-threatening. Prostatic cancers often metastasize into the liver, lungs, kidneys, lymph nodes, spine, and pelvic bones. Prostate enlargement may also occur as the result of another cancer metastasizing, often transitional cell carcinoma (cancer of the urinary system).

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Diagnosis of Prostate Enlargement in Dogs

As prostate health is an important part of overall health in older male dogs, many veterinarians perform a prostate exam as a part of a routine check-up in dogs whose age puts them at risk. Sometimes prostate enlargement can be detected during these exams and before a dog is exhibiting symptoms. However, if your dog exhibits any symptoms of an enlarged prostate, it is important to bring him in to see a veterinarian as soon as possible. The prostate exam is performed by the insertion of a gloved finger into the rectum in order to palpate the prostate. The veterinarian can detect size, shape, and any abnormalities as well as determine if there is pain associated with the gland.

A blood sample will be taken and analyzed for a complete blood count, which measure red and white blood cells and can indicate infection if there is an elevated white blood cell count. In addition, a chemical blood profile will be run, which measures urea, nitrogen and creatinine levels that could indicate a complication of the kidneys or liver. Samples of urine and semen (if your dog is not neutered) will be taken and analyzed for evidence of infection or cancer. Further tests include x-rays and ultrasounds in order to examine the gland and nearby tissues and organs. A biopsy obtained by fine-needle aspiration may be necessary in order to confirm a diagnosis but is not used as a primary diagnostic tool.

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Treatment of Prostate Enlargement in Dogs

The course of your dog’s treatment will depend on the type and cause of his prostate enlargement.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia - BPH is treated through surgical neutering, which causes the prostate to shrink naturally, providing relief. If cysts have developed, they will need to be relieved through surgical drainage.

Bacterial Infection - For bacterial infections, neutering is also the first step in treatment, as it is easier to move forward with treating the infection once the prostate has naturally decreased in size. Bacterial infections will then be treated with antibiotic or antimicrobial medications. Severe, chronic cases may require injections, enemas and possible surgery due to the fact that there is a physiological barrier between the blood and the prostate gland, making it difficult for oral medications to penetrate the gland. Because of this, treatment may take between 6 to 8 weeks. Abscesses might be drained surgically.

Cancer - Prostatic cancer has no cure, and the only option is palliative care in order to provide relief and improve your dog’s quality of life. As there is no cure, you may elect to euthanize your dog in order to spare him pain.

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Recovery of Prostate Enlargement in Dogs

Follow-up visits with your veterinarian are important to monitor recovery. BPH treated through neutering will require a prostate exam and/or follow-up imaging in order to confirm that the prostate is shrinking as expected. Full recovery is expected to be swift, although you will have to monitor the site of your dog’s castration incision and prevent your dog from biting, licking or scratching the site in order to ensure proper healing.

Because bacterial infections require extensive treatment, follow-up visits will be necessary to assess the efficacy of treatment and if changes need to be made to medications and methods. These visits will involve analysis or urine and prostate fluid samples. If your dog has prostate cancer and you choose to treat through radiation, treatment will regularly be monitored. The prognosis for dogs with prostate cancer is not good; once diagnosed, the average survival rate is between six weeks to one year.

Prostate enlargement could be a symptom of a serious medical condition. To avoid high vet care expenses, secure pet health insurance today. The sooner you insure your pet, the more protection you’ll have from unexpected vet costs.

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Cost of Prostate Enlargement in Dogs

The cost to treat your dog’s enlarged prostate will vary depending on the type and cause of your dog’s condition as well as choices you may make in treatment. Overall costs will range from a low of $270 to a high of $8,222, with a national average of $4,246. An examination fee averages $65, basic lab fees will be around $35 for the initial samples, $85 for urinalysis, $60 for the bacterial cultures of the samples, between $40-$140 for blood chemistry analyses, $35 for fine-needle aspiration, $150 for x-ray, $200 for ultrasound, $27 per week of antibiotics, $200 for neutering and $5,000-7,000 per course (around five weeks) of radiation.


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Prostate Enlargement Average Cost

From 15 quotes ranging from $300 - $12,000

Average Cost

$1,800

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Prostate Enlargement Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Pug

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Five Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Rash On Chest And Patchyhair Loss

He has a large under the skin lump next to his penis

Aug. 7, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I agree, that does appear to be a large lump next to his prepuce. Dogs can develop different types of tumors as they age, and it would be a good idea to have your veterinarian examine him, and possibly take a sample of the lump, to see if it is a lipoma or other type of tumor. It might be a good idea to discuss having it removed, as he is a young dog and that is a large lump. I hope that all goes well for him.

Aug. 8, 2020

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Mocha

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Labrador Retriever

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4 Years

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Fair severity

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5 found helpful

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

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Mass Found During Ultrasound Exam,

My dog was having loose stools and straining. Then I noticed some blood in his stool. He was put on antibiotics/anti diarrea with no help and after a month of accidents I asked for a ultrasound. The vet found that he has a mass in prostate. X ray showed he was full of stool. A week later I brought him in for beginning to have a prolapsed colon. He was perscribed prednisone and it seems to have helped tremendously (besides the side effects of thirst/hunger/ and occasional urine accidents). The vet believes it is cancer and recommends seeing a specialist. No blood work has been done. Should a regular vet be doing a blood test/ biopsy etc before referring to a specialist? I’m just confused because this condition is so rare (he is 4yrs old and was neutered at 10months old). Maybe I just don’t want to believe it’s true, but could the mass be soemthing other than prostate cancer? He acts like nothing is wrong. Full of energy and shows no signs of pain. I’m unsure of the step and my options.

June 4, 2018

Mocha's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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5 Recommendations

It is very difficult to biopsy the prostate, and that procedure alone often requires a specialist. Since the problem has been localized to the prostate, it is probably best to see the specialist recommended, since it is so unusual in a neutered dog. It may be ann abcess, a benign growth or a tumor - they'll be able to determine what the cause is, and help him. I hope that everything goes well for him.

June 4, 2018

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Prostate Enlargement Average Cost

From 15 quotes ranging from $300 - $12,000

Average Cost

$1,800

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