A closer look: Prostate Inflammation (Prostatitis) in Cats
The nonspecific symptoms of prostatitis make it hard to differentiate this condition from other disorders, such as prostate cancer, bladder inflammation, feline lower urinary tract diseases (FLUTDs), or urinary stones. Some of these conditions are more dangerous than others, and a proper diagnosis is needed to determine how at risk the patient is.
Acute prostatitis arises suddenly, and presents with additional symptoms.
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Chronic prostatitis may show no symptoms in some cases.
Any pet presenting with symptoms of prostatitis requires prompt medical attention.
Severe prostatitis may lead to abscesses within the urinary tract. If an abscess leaks or ruptures, urinary fluids mix into the bloodstream. This scenario leads to blood poisoning (sepsis), which can be fatal.
Prostatitis is very rare in cats. Intact male cats are significantly more likely to develop prostatitis compared to neutered males.
Prostatitis most commonly develops as a result of a bacterial infection ascending from the urinary tract. Disorders that predispose a cat to a UTI can also lead to prostatitis.
Testing and diagnosis
Due to the nonspecific symptoms, a full workup is necessary to diagnose prostatitis, including:
- Physical examination
- Diagnostic imaging
- Prostatic wash and cytology
A biopsy is necessary to differentiate BPH, prostate cancer, and prostatitis, however the necessary sampling is not always possible. A cat presenting with symptoms associated with these conditions typically begins treatment with a therapeutic trial of antibiotics and castration, to rule out prostatitis and BPH respectively.
Steps to Recovery
Treatments vary, depending on the underlying cause and severity of the prostatitis. Medications may include painkillers or anti-inflammatories. Fluid therapy often supports treatment in cases of dehydration.
Surgical intervention may be required, as in cases of abscesses.
Recovery is likely if the prostatitis is mild, although treatment may last several weeks. Recurrence is common, requiring additional treatment.
The prognosis is more guarded for severe prostatitis resulting in abscesses, or when associated with severe underlying conditions such as cancer.
The risk of BPH, which may predispose cats to prostatitis, is reduced by neutering (castration). The link between BPH and prostatitis in cats is unclear, however it is well-established in dogs.
Is Prostate Inflammation (Prostatitis) in Cats common?
Prostatitis is very rare in cats.
- Treatment of underlying conditions