Prostate Cancer In Dogs
Prostate cancer can develop in the prostate gland of male dogs. It most often arises from epithelial cells within the prostate. It is less common than in humans, with about 1 percent of male dogs affected. However, canine prostate cancer is typically aggressive and the prognosis is guarded. Dogs that develop prostate cancer typically are 9 years of age or older, and any breed can be stricken. The most notable symptoms include blood in the urine or the dog straining to urinate or defecate.
Types of Prostatic Carcinoma in Dogs
There are two types of prostate cancer in dogs. One is adenocarcinoma or carcinoma, a cancer that forms in the prostate gland. The other is transitional cell carcinoma, which can also be seen in the bladder. Prostate cancer can metastasize (spread) into the lymph nodes, liver and/or lungs. It also can grow locally or spread into the urethra or backward into the bladder.
Clinical Signs to Look for
The clinical signs of prostate cancer in dogs are more behavioral than physical. You won’t feel any bumps, and other than perhaps weight loss, you won’ t notice changes to your dog’s physical appearance when he has prostate cancer. Prostate tumors in dogs eventually begin to cause other problems, however. If your dog is straining to urinate or there is blood in his urine, those are potential indicators. These symptoms present like a bladder infection but can be caused by a mass in the prostate pressing on the urethra. Your dog also may strain to defecate or have a change in their stool shape. Feces can be thinner, smaller or ribbon-like. (Stool softeners or canned dog food can help with this.) Your dog also may have difficulty rising or lying down due to discomfort caused by the mass.
Even if your dog is presenting the signs described above, don’t automatically presume he has cancer. Since prostate cancer in dogs is rare, your veterinarian likely will act to rule out several other possibilities, including an infection, a cyst or a benign prostatic hyperplasia (an enlarged prostate gland). Tests and procedures used to determine whether your dog has prostate cancer or another issue may include chest X-rays, bloodwork, urinalysis, a urine culture, an abdominal ultrasound and/or CT scan, and possibly a biopsy or aspiration.
Treatment Options and Prognosis
If your dog is diagnosed with prostate cancer, the primary treatment options are chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is not a cure but can help slow the growth and spread of prostatic tumors, prolonging your dog’s life. Chemotherapy for prostate cancer in a dog would usually be administered via intravenous injection. There’s about a 50% chance that chemotherapy will help for six to nine months.
Stereotactic Radiation: Stereotactic Radiation is an innovative form of radiation treatment available for dogs with prostate cancer, and veterinary oncologists are seeing some success with this promising option. The PetCure Oncology team is qualified to provide this treatment. The objective of Stereotactic Radiation is to damage the tumor without harming surrounding tissues and organs. Stereotactic Radiation can be administered in just 1-3 treatments. It also causes fewer side effects than chemotherapy. Some treatment protocols may call for following radiation with chemotherapy.
If you decide not to treat your dog for prostate cancer, his life expectancy may only be a few months.
Progression of Disease
Unfortunately, the above clinical signs will continue to progress as the canacer progresses. Suppotive care with periodic antibiotics and/or stool softeners can help. As the disease progresses, it is important to always make sure that your dog is able to urinate. As the tumor grows, it can make it difficult for a dog to void. If your dog is straining though no urine is coming out, take him to your veterinarian or the nearest emergency clinic as this is an emergency situation.
Find a PetCure Oncology Location Near You
If your dog has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, you want to give him the best care possible. At PetCure Oncology, we provide the most advanced and innovative treatment options available. We specialize in supporting you and your dog with professionalism, care and treatment options designed to prolong your beloved pet’s life as long as possible.
For more information about PetCure Oncology and our innovative treatment options, find a location near you today.