Duke is a bit of a middle aged fellow and came to us because he was having a bit of trouble urinating. He hadn’t had the problem for long but every time he tried to go to the toilet he had a lot of trouble getting his urine out and was taking a long time. Along with this problem he was unwell, being somewhat listless and also occasionally vomiting.
There are a number of conditions that could have affected his ability to urinate properly such as:
- Bladder stones
- Prostatic Disease
- Neurological Problems
- Bladder weakness etc.
Because there are so many possibilities as to why Duke could not urinate, the initial steps taken are firstly to do a complete examination and then decide which tests are most applicable. In this case the first tests performed were to run a screening blood test and to take abdominal X-rays. In this particular case the blood tests indicated that Duke had infection or severe inflammation somewhere but the X-rays showed that he had a mass in the caudal part of his abdomen.
This particular mass was further investigated by an ultrasound study and was confirmed to be a cystitic prostatic mass.
Prostatic enlargement is quite common in the entire male dog and may cause problems in the later half on one’s life. Most are hormonally influenced by the male hormone testosterone and thus are rarely found in desexed male dogs. Because of the position of the prostate and it being part of the urogenital system it is common to get some problems with urination. This is because it interferes with the function or the urethra by restricting its diameter. The prostate may also affect bowel function resulting in constipation and can be associated with worsening of lower back problems.
There are a number of prostatic problems found in male dogs:
Benign Hyperplasia: this is the most common form seen and is simply an enlargement in the size of the gland due to increased numbers of cells. The treatment for this condition is usually castration however and anti-androgenic drug call Tardak may reduce the severity of the condition for a period of time.
Prostatitis: Infection of the prostate usually due to bacterial traveling up the urethra and getting into the gland or sometimes secondary to bladder infection and possibly blood born infections. This infection may stay within the tissue of the gland or it may enter the gland sinus where is can form an abscess. Prostatitis is usually treated with antibiotics however if it abscessates then surgical drainage of the gland may be necessary.
Cystic Prostate: This is where the glands sinuses start to fill with fluid. This may be as a result of blockage of the draining ducts due to infection, metaplasia of the duck, hypertrophic enlargement or may occur due to atrophy of the glandular tissue leaving a space to be filled with fluid. Large cysts are usually treated surgically; multiple small cysts are treated with medication and castration.
Prostatic Neoplasia: There is both a benign and malignant form. The malignant type of prostatic cancer is generally very nasty and has often metastasised by the time a diagnosis is made. Unfortunately the prostate in the dog is very difficult to remove and as such complete surgical removal of any neoplastic mass is often impossible thus we can only offer palliative therapy for prostatic cancers.