Prostate Tumor in Dogs

The prostate is a gland that is present in male dogs. A prostate tumor may be a serious condition, especially if the tumor is malignant. The causes of this type of tumor are not completely known. The tumor may be surgically removed and this may give a good prognosis. However, if the tumor is not detected early enough, it may migrate and affect other organs, leading to death.

Prostate Tumors

Prostate tumors are the most common cause of prostate problems in dogs. The prostate is a small gland that produces fluids which carry the dog’s sperm when the dog is mating.

The tumors may be benign or malignant, but most often the tumors are cancerous.

Prostate Tumors Causes

The causes of prostate tumors are not known. However, dogs that are neutered are less likely to develop prostate cancer.

Consequently, the formation of prostate tumors may be associated with the sexual hormones and the sexual activity.

Prostate Tumor Symptoms

The prostate that is affected by a tumor will be swollen and this may press against the urethra and the urinary bladder and will cause a number of symptoms such as:

  • Pain when urinating, straining to urinate
  • More frequent urination and in smaller amounts than usual
  • Pinkish urine (blood in the urine)

The prostate will get gradually larger, so these symptoms may aggravate in time.

The dog may present other symptoms such as:

  • Fever
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Stiff back legs
  • Depression
  • Lethargy

These symptoms may be more subtle and more difficult to detect. However, if you suspect your dog is not well, you should get a routine checkup.

Diagnosing Prostate Cancer

The prostate cancer may be detected by performing a few x-rays and ultrasounds in the pelvic area. These should reveal the tumor. In addition, the vet will also perform a biopsy of a few tissues extracted from the tumor. The biopsy should let the vet know if the cells that make up the tumor are cancerous. A histopathologist may be consulted to decide on the type of cells that are present.

If the tumor is cancerous, the vet will perform a number of tests to determine how advanced the cancer is:

  • A complete blood count (CBC)
  • Chest x-rays, cancers typically metastasize in the lungs
  • CT scans or MRI

Treating Prostate Cancer

If the prostate cancer is not large, it may be removed through surgery. After surgery, this tumor may never grow back and the dog will be healthy again.

However, the tumor may return, so the dog needs to be monitored. Some vets may recommend chemotherapy to prevent the occurrence and development of cancerous cells in the future.

If the prostate cancer has spread, the surgery is useless and the treatment should be a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. These will not cure the prostate cancer, but reduce pain and will make the progression of the disease slower. The prognosis is poor and the cancer may metastasize in the lungs or the lymph nodes.