The prostate is a gland involved in the male reproductive system. Inflammation of the prostate, or prostatitis, is a common condition that occurs almost exclusively in intact male dogs.
The severity of symptoms varies according to the underlying cause and whether the condition is acute or chronic. Symptoms of acute prostatitis are generally more severe than those of chronic prostatitis. Some dogs with chronic prostatitis show no symptoms at all.
Prognosis varies as there are several potential causes, but in general the outcome is expected to be favorable. Some of the underlying conditions that lead to prostatitis are easily cured, but some carry a grave prognosis.
Intact male dogs are most at risk of prostatitis. It is important to seek veterinary attention as soon as symptoms are noted. Prostatitis is one of several disease processes that can affect the prostate gland. Prostatitis is the second most common cause of prostate disease in dogs and neutering decreases the risk greatly.
Prostatitis is usually caused by an infection in the urinary tract which travels to the prostate. Common potential causes that predispose dogs to this form of infection route include urinary stones, injuries, or urinary system related cancers.
If prostatitis progresses to a prostatic abscess the abscess can sometimes rupture into the abdomen leading to sepsis which can be life threatening.
The majority of prostatitis cases are caused by a bacterial infection in the urinary tract which progresses up towards the prostate. Abnormal conditions that affect the prostate gland’s shape can also contribute to prostatitis. For example Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) is a very common cause in older male dogs and is a normal part of the aging process. Prostate cancer also causes destruction of normal prostate cells and can lead to prostatitis.
If prostatitis is suspected, initial diagnostics are aimed at ruling out other possible causes of similar symptoms.
Diagnostic tools include:
Since the majority of cases of acute prostatitis are caused by urinary tract infections, the first line of treatment is antibiotics. Most cases fully resolve and no further treatment is needed.
Neutering is also recommended along with antibiotic therapy as BPH often accompanies prostatitis. If stones are identified, treatment may include surgical removal in addition to neutering.
Chronic prostatitis is harder to resolve and often requires at least six weeks of antibiotics. Both acute and chronic cases benefit from support with anti-inflammatories and pain relief. Medications to shrink the prostate may be an option if neutering is refused. Dogs with chronic prostatitis can live with the condition for months to years with minimal symptoms, if any. Prognosis for acute prostatitis is usually good with appropriate treatment and resolution of any predisposing factors, if possible. Recurrence is common, especially if underlying factors are not addressed.
Neutering male dogs early in life dramatically reduces the risk of multiple types of prostate disease, including prostatitis. Avoiding exposure to breeding opportunities is helpful for preventing recurrences in intact males. Resolution of other predisposing factors, where possible, can also minimize chances of prostatitis developing.
Prostatitis is the second-most common prostatic disease in dogs. Incidence of prostatitis is much less common in castrated males.