Dogs are no more immune to prostate troubles than people. Prostatitis -- a bacterial infection in the prostate gland -- typically occurs after a bout of cystitis or as the result of an abscess. As with people, the condition affects only males, and older dogs are more at risk of contracting it. Non-neutered male dogs are at higher risk.
Signs of Prostatitis
Prostatitis in dogs can either be acute or chronic. Acute prostatitis is a painful, sudden onset type that can be more debilitating than the long-term, chronic type. Signs of acute prostatitis include fever, depression, lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, pain when urinating and bloody secretions from the penis. Your dog also may arch his back as if doubling over. On the other hand, chronic prostatitis -- a leading cause of male infertility -- may have no detectable symptoms.
The most common causes of prostatitis in dogs are infections in the urethra, bladder, kidneys and blood. Prostatitis could also be an extension of other types of prostate issues such as cysts; neoplasia, a mass of soft tissue; or squamous metaplasia, a cellular change in the linings of some soft tissue. E. coli is the most common bacterium leading to these infections, which could create abscesses in the prostate. Chronic prostatitis can recur in periodic flareups.
In cases of acute prostatitis caused by bacterial infection, your dog will need to be hospitalized and treated with intravenous antibiotics. For milder cases of chronic prostatitis, he probably will be treated on an outpatient basis. He may also be neutered. Neutering tends to relieve the symptoms of prostatitis and lower the chances of the disease striking again. Alternatively, your veterinarian could prescribe hormone-blocking medications that decrease the chance of a recurrence.
Prevention and Home Care
Your veterinarian likely will want to re-examine your dog within two weeks, and she typically will need samples of urine or prostatic fluid. If the dog's urine was cloudy during infection, it should get clearer as the medication does its job. Fortunately, the chances of recovery are quite good, unless there was a prostatic abscess that ruptured into the abdominal cavity. Then, recovery is less certain. If your dog remains non-neutered, you must keep him from mating until signs of bacteria in the prostatic fluid have vanished.
By Scott Morgan
About the Author
Scott Morgan is an award-winning reporter and editor who has covered central New Jersey since 2001. He has worked with the Princeton Packet Newsgroup, US 1 Publishing, "Unique Homes Magazine" and Community News Service. Morgan also serves as a professional speaker and teacher. He holds a bachelor's degree in humanities from Thomas Edison State College.