Surgical Treatment for Prostate Cancer in Dogs

Prostate cancer in dogs occurs in the prostate gland that supports seminal fluid production. Canine prostate cancer affects both neutered and non-neutered male dogs, and causes urinary problems due to the gland's proximity to the bladder.

Symptoms of Canine Prostate Cancer

The symptoms of prostate cancer are usually seen when the cancer is in the advanced stage. The prostate gland becomes enlarged and exerts pressure on the pet's bladder, causing frequent and painful urination. Other symptoms include blood in the urine, constipation, fever and lethargy. Carcinoma is the most common type of prostate cancer in dogs, and it spreads quickly to other parts of the body. Pet owners should seek prompt medical help if they notice any symptoms of prostate cancer.

Diagnosis of Canine Prostate Cancer

The vet will perform a physical examination to determine unusual changes in the prostate gland. A rectal palpitation and an abdominal exam are the preliminary tests conducted during diagnosis. Prostate glands that are enlarged are then subjected to further testing.

Diagnostic Tests Include:

  • Prostate Ultrasound
  • Complete Blood Count
  • X-ray
  • Biopsy

Treatment of Canine Prostate Cancer

The diagnosis of prostate cancer will reveal the severity of cancer and the presence of cancerous tissue in other parts of the body. The treatment involves chemotherapy medication and surgery. Radiation therapy may also be used in combination with surgery or chemotherapy. Chemotherapy or radiation therapy is generally used when surgical intervention isn't possible. Radiation therapy uses gamma rays to penetrate the cancerous cells and prevent cell division. Radiation also helps to reduce discomfort, and kills cancerous cells post-surgery.

Surgery for Canine Prostate Cancer

Surgery is performed by trained veterinary surgeons and anesthetists. Surgery aims to remove the mass or cancerous cyst that forms in the prostate gland. The surgery is performed under anesthesia, and takes nearly half an hour to complete. The pet will also be given chemotherapy after surgery to ensure complete elimination of cancer cells. The adverse effects of prostate surgery involve urinary incontinence. Although the surgery in itself is very safe, the pet's response to surgery and chemotherapy has to be monitored with frequent follow up tests.

Effectiveness of Treatment

Pet owners should talk with their vet about treatment options that are best suited to the dog. The dog's age is also a factor to consider before performing surgery. Pets suffering from cancer that's spread to the bones or organs require more aggressive treatment protocols. Radiation therapy provides a good prognosis and helps increase the pet's quality of life. Most pets treated with chemotherapy or radiation therapy live comfortably for a year longer. Surgery can be more effective in some pets, as opposed to dogs that have underlying conditions.

Home Care after Prostate Surgery

Pet owners should be prepared to care for their dog after surgery is performed. Most dogs don't pass a stool for up to 3 days following surgery. The dog's diet should also be altered to make it more palatable. A good quality source of protein is the best choice. All prescribed antibiotic or narcotic medications should be administered on time, according to vet instructions.

Most pets can live comfortably with proper medication and home care. It's important to follow up with vet checks and monitor your dog for unusual symptoms.