Can Dogs Live without a Prostate?

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Introduction

Your poor pup is your pride and joy - you'd do anything to keep your pup safe and healthy. Now, imagine that your doggo is having health issues, more specifically, prostate issues and your dog-tor suggests a prostatectomy. You probably have one million questions running through your head right off the bat, most notably, "can my dog live without his prostate?"

We've got good news. Your dog, even if he has prostate disease, cancer, or some other prostate illness, can certainly live a normal, healthy, happy life if you choose for him to undergo a prostatctomy. This can either remove parts of your dog's prostate gland or the entire prostate gland. Typically, this happens if your dog has developed a tumor on his prostate gland. 
Are you interested in knowing more about the procedure? Do you want to know the signs you should look out for to signify that your dog is having prostate issues to being with? 

Read on for more information! 

Signs Your Dog Might Be Having Prostate Issues

Your dog's prostate is part of his reproductive system and is best described as an accessory sex gland that helps to nourish and transport sperm. Most male, intact dogs are at risk of developing issues with their prostates like enlargement, cancers, diseases, illnesses, and tumors. If your dog is suffering from prostate issues, there will be obvious signs you should look out for. 

For example, if your dog is having a harder-than-normal time going to the bathroom, is urinating or defecating blood or yellowish discharge, and is suffering from constipation or urinary pain, it's possible that your dog is dealing with prostate issues. Other common issues that go hand-in-hand with prostate problems are abdominal pain, stiff walking, bloody discharge from your dog's penis, as well as systemic depression and excessive lethargy. 

Body Language

If you think your dog is suffering from a prostate-related issues, look for signs like:
  • Shaking
  • Cowering
  • Body freezing
  • Sweaty paws
  • Ears back
  • Sleepiness

Other Signs

Your dog also might have issues with his prostate if these symptoms occur:
  • Bloody urine
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Systemic depression
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Difficulty going to that bathroom

The History of Prostatectomies in Dogs

In the past, a total prostatectomy was typically not suggested or recommended for the management of dogs with prostate tumors because of the high risk of morbidity in comparison to less aggressive medical techniques. Now, however, prostatectomies are performed on dogs relatively routinely. 

Much of the research that determined this sort of surgery was ineffective for dogs was conducted about 30 years ago, but modern research, especially from veterinarians like Dr. Ralph Henderson, tout the benefits and high survival rates that prostate removal surgery can provide. 

Now, the advantages of a total prostatectomy for dogs includes a better local tumor control (more so than other techniques), less expensive options, and a low risk of infection post surgery.

The Science of a Prostatectomy

A prostatectomy is a surgery that your dog will likely have to undergo if he develops significant or life-threatening issues due to his prostate. This surgery will remove either part of the prostate gland or the entire gland in order to save your dog from any prostate issues he might be dealing with. 

Typically, this happens when your dog has a tumor that's built up on his prostate, or a benign or malignant buildup of cells that have started rapidly dividing in a localized area. After a vet has run diagnostic tests to confirm that this surgery is necessary, they'll prep the dog for surgery, which typically consists of cutting into the dog's abdomen near the tumor and removing the entire prostate gland.

Training Your Dog to Recover from a Prostatectomy

Once your dog is diagnosed with a prostate condition that requires the total, or partial removal of his prostate, you'll need to begin planning for how to train your dog for proper recovery. Though a relatively routine surgery now, helping your dog through the recovery of any type of surgery is going to take patience, thoughtfulness, and quite a bit of training on your dog's part. 

If your dog hasn't perfected his normal obedience commands prior to his diagnosis, make sure he is fully aware and respects them before his surgery. Telling your dog to stay, sit, lie down, or settle is going to be a huge deal when it comes to proper recovery, especially in order to help your dog avoid infections. 

It's quite possible that your dog is going to require a week or more in a doggy hospital in order to properly recover, so it's important that you've trained your dog to feel comfortable in a veterinarian office environment. We suggest training your dog beforehand with positive reinforcement for every vet visit in order for him to associate the vet's office with treats, affection, love, and toys.

How to React if Your Dog Needs a Prostatectomy:

  • Discuss surgery options with your dog-tor.
  • Make sure you have a plan in action for when your dog is recovering from surgery.
  • Talk to your vet about how you can prevent further issues from developing and how you could have prevented the issue in the first place.
  • Ensure you're taking all the correct steps so your dog can heal quickly and efficiently.

We Want to Hear About Your Dog's Prostatectomy!