Canine Enlarged Prostate Diagnosis

Canine enlarged prostate is a condition that occurs in the prostate gland. The canine prostate gland controls the secretion of seminal fluid and is located behind the urinary bladder and below the rectum. Due to its location, the symptoms of enlarged prostate are generally exhibited through urinary problems.

Size of the Prostate Gland

The size of the prostate gland in a healthy adult dog is between 1 to 2 inches in diameter. Although the prostate gland starts to develop before the dog matures, it reaches its maximum size when the dog is nearly 2 years old. Prostate hypertrophy, commonly known as enlarged prostate gland, usually occurs due to a change in hormones in the pet’s body. The two hormones include the male and female hormones, testosterone and estrogen. An enlarged prostate gland exerts pressure on the rectum and causes visible symptoms.

Symptoms of Enlarged Prostate Gland:

  • Change in posture while walking
  • Pet takes smaller steps while walking
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Constipation
  • Discharge from the penis

Types of Canine Prostate Disease

During the diagnosis the vet will determine the type of prostate disease present. An enlarged prostate gland could develop cysts that are benign in nature. This is very common in dogs over 8 years of age, as an enlarged prostate is common in older pets. This condition is known as benign prostatic hyperplasia. Although it’s not a life-threatening condition, pets suffer from discomfort as the gland enlarges over time.

Prostate gland enlargement can also occur due to bacterial infections. Antibiotic medications are used to kill the bacteria. However, the choice of antibiotic drugs is important, as many antibiotics don’t reach the prostate gland and are eliminated from the body. Dogs that suffer from chronic bacterial infections in the prostate gland can also develop resistance to certain drugs. The medication has to then be altered to cure the infection.

The most serious form of prostate enlargement is prostate cancer. The treatment protocol depends on the severity of cancer, and the dog’s age and underlying health conditions. A proper diagnosis will enable the vet to choose a treatment suited to the type of prostate disease that the dog is suffering from.

Diagnosis of Canine Prostate Enlargement

In order to diagnose an enlarged prostate, the vet will perform a rectal palpating test by inserting a finger inside the pet’s rectum. A physical examination will detect any changes present in the prostate gland. The vet will perform an x-ray or an ultrasound to detect the size and presence of cysts. In addition, a urine sample is taken with the help of a catheter to prevent contamination. The vet will determine if the cysts are benign or malignant by performing a microscopic evaluation of the cells from the dog’s prostate gland.

Other Tests

If the clinical diagnosis determines malignant cysts or tumors, the vet will perform additional tests to rule out underlying illness before choosing a treatment protocol. MRI scans may also be necessary to determine if the cancer has spread to internal organs in the dog’s body. The dog will be sedated before certain diagnostic tests are performed, as they can cause pain or discomfort.

The treatment for enlarged prostate varies according to the findings of diagnostic tests. Dogs suffering from prostate cancer are treated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Since prostate enlargement is common in older pets, it's best to perform routine vet checks on them to diagnose conditions in time.