Prostate Enlargement in Dogs

Prostatomegaly in Dogs

Prostatomegaly is a medical condition in which the prostate gland is abnormally large. This is determined by rectal or abdominal palpation, or by abdominal X-ray or ultrasound imaging of the prostate. The enlargement can be symmetrical or asymmetrical, painful or nonpainful. Normal prostate size varies with age, body size, castration status, and breed, so determination of the enlargement is subjective.

Enlargement of the prostate gland can result from the proliferation or enlargement of epithelial cell (cells that line the cavities and surfaces of structures throughout the body); pre-cancerous cells in the prostate; or from inflammatory cell infiltration (e.g., acute and chronic bacterial prostatitis and prostatic abscess). Prostatomegaly is typically noted in middle-aged to older male dogs.

Symptoms and Types

  • Asymptomatic (without symptoms)
  • Straining to defecate/constipation
  • Ribbonlike stools
  • Difficulty urinating

Causes

  • Benign (harmless) prostatic enlargement
  • Squamous metaplasia: benign changes in the linings of the prostate
  • Adenocarcinoma: cancer that originates in glandular tissue
  • Transitional cell carcinoma: tumor of the urinary bladder
  • Sarcoma: cancer of the connective or supportive tissue (bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels) and soft tissue
  • Cancer that metastasizes (spreads)
  • Acute bacterial prostatitis (inflammation)
  • Chronic bacterial prostatitis
  • Prostatic abscess
  • Prostatic cyst
  • Risk Factors
  • Castration lowers the risk of benign prostatic enlargement and bacterial prostatitis
  • Risk of prostatic adenocarcinoma is, however, increased three-fold in castrated dogs

Diagnosis

Since there are several possible causes for this condition, there also several different avenues your veterinarian can take in making the diagnosis. The diagnostic tools your veterinarian chooses will be based on the initial physical examination. Ultrasound is usually the tool of choice in determining whether the prostate is enlarged and whether there are cysts or abscesses on the prostate. A complete blood profile will be conducted, including a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, and a urinalysis to determine whether an infection, bacterial or other, is involved. White blood cells in the urine, or in the seminal fluid, meanwhile, would indicate an infection of the bladder or urinary tract.

An examination of prostatic fluid obtained by ejaculation or prostatic massage may provide additional information about the state of the blood and whether an infection is present. Ultrasound will be used as a visual aid for guiding a fine-needle to the prostrate in order to draw fluid and/or cell tissue for biopsy. This process is referred to as fine needle aspiration.

palpation

Examination through feeling

prostate gland

The gland around the urethra that secretes the fluid to allow sperm to move about

urinalysis

An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness

prostatitis

An inflammation of the prostate gland

benign

Not being able to cause harm; the opposite of malignant.

acute

Term used to imply that a situation or condition is more severe than usual; also used to refer to a disease having run a short course or come on suddenly.

adenocarcinoma

The result of a malignant growth of the tissue of the epithelial gland.

asymmetrical

Out of proportion or unbalanced; may also be referred to as unsymmetrical.

abscess

A localized infection, usually a lesion filled with pus. Can be large or small in size.

biopsy

The process of removing tissue to examine it, usually for medical reasons.

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