Canine Prostatectomy: Dog Prostate Surgery Explained

Like the prostate of any mammal, the dog prostate is prone to disease. The prostate is a gland that is present in every male mammal, which is responsible for seminal excretions. A male dog's prostate is located only slightly behind the rectum, at the base of the urethra. Neutered dogs rarely have prostate problems because most of their prostate gland has been removed, but unaltered dogs are more likely to develop prostate conditions with age.

Symptoms of a Canine Prostate Problem

The most prominent symptom of a prostate problem is when an affected dog walks abnormally. Swelling of the prostate makes it sensitive, and because of the prostate's proximity to the hips in dogs, walking can be painful. Dogs with prostate problems also commonly suffer from constipation, and trouble urinating. A dog with a prostate problem can be identified when it strains during urination, or when it passes blood and pus mixed with urine.

Canine Prostate Cancer

Probably the most serious of the prostate problems that domesticated dogs often suffer from is prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is when some of the tissue in the prostate undergoes a series of mutations that lead it to uncontrollable growth. Since the prostate is naturally a fairly small organ, it does not take long for the cancerous tissue to take over the gland entirely. The prostate will then continue to grow, and possibly become malignant. Malignant cancerous tissue can spread to other parts of the body, and once the disease reaches this stage, the probability of the dog's survival drops significantly.

Canine Prostate Surgery

The only prostate problem that is usually considered serious enough to warrant surgical treatment is prostate cancer. Prostate cancer has a high probability of becoming malignant, so if surgery is to be used as a treatment, it must be done promptly. Since the prostate is not a vital organ, prostate surgery usually consists of removing the gland entirely. If the cancer has already spread to bones or vital organs, surgery is an unlikely option, because those parts of the body cannot be removed without doing more harm than good.

Radiation therapy is often used in conjunction with surgery for prostate cancer treatment. Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-ray radiation to kill cancerous tissue. It is often used before surgery, to reduce the size of a tumor, and after surgery, to wipe out the remaining cancer cells left behind in the body. Prostate surgery is not a common treatment for dogs that suffer from prostate cancer because chemotherapy has been observed to be more effective. Also, canine prostate surgery is very painful, and usually leads to complications such as incontinence.

Prostate cancer in dogs is usually fatal. The average dog only lives for six weeks after being diagnosed with prostate cancer, but if the problem is identified early, the cancerous tissue can be removed from the body and the probability of survival is significantly increased. If you suspect that your dog may be developing prostate cancer, seek veterinary attention immediately.