Prostate Infection in Dogs (Prostatitis): Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Prostate Infection in Dogs (Prostatitis): Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Author WDF Staff


Male dogs, like male humans, are prone to prostate problems. Prostatitis in dogs is not a common problem, but it can become a serious disease if left untreated. Prostatitis may also be a sign of another prostatic disease. If you're concerned about your dog's health, here are a few facts about prostatitis in dogs.

What exactly is the prostate?

The prostate is a small gland located near the neck of the male dog's urinary bladder. After leaving the bladder, the urethra (the tube that transports urine from the bladder to the outside of the body) passes through the prostate. The prostate's function is to produce some of the fluids found in sperm.

What exactly is prostatitis in dogs?

Prostatitis is a term used to describe prostate inflammation. The canine prostate gland is a reproductive structure only found in male dogs. It is responsible for the production of fluids found in the sperm and surrounds the bladder where it meets the urethra. When the prostate becomes inflamed, it can affect the surrounding tissues, causing urination and defecation issues. Prostatitis is typically caused by bacteria. Bacterial prostatitis manifests itself in two ways.

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Types of prostatitis in dogs

Canine prostatitis can be acute or chronic. Acute prostatitis appears suddenly, with your dog experiencing discomfort, pain, and fever. Dehydration, septicemia, and shock may occur in more severe cases of acute prostatitis in your dog. If your dog develops chronic prostatitis, that means the disease progresses slowly over time, making it difficult to detect symptoms. Recurrent urinary tract infections are the most common symptom of chronic prostatitis. The onset of symptoms and the rapidity with which they develop differ between acute and chronic prostatitis cases.

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What causes prostatitis in dogs?

All male dogs are at risk of developing prostatitis; no breed is immune to being more susceptible than others. Dogs aged 7 to 11 years, on the other hand, are at a higher risk. Here are some of the most common causes of this condition:

  • Bacteria migrate from the urinary tract to the prostate
  • Bacteria spreading from other parts of the body to the prostate
  • Bacteria spreading from a wound site to the prostate
  • Functional testicles are present (hormonal)
  • Prostate enlargement
  • Medical history of male or female hormone administration
  • Immune system flaws

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What are the symptoms of prostatitis in dogs?

Acute prostatitis is characterized by lethargy, pain, and fever. A dog with prostatitis is likely to have a urinary tract infection at the same time. Dehydration, septicemia (bloodstream infection), and shock can occur as a result of acute prostatitis. These are extremely serious and potentially fatal conditions.

Dogs suffering from chronic prostatitis may show no signs of illness. Chronic recurrent urinary tract infections are common in dogs with chronic prostatitis. This may be the only symptom that leads the veterinarian to a diagnosis.

Prostatic abscesses can develop in dogs with bacterial prostatitis. A ruptured abscess can cause peritonitis (inflammation of the abdominal cavity lining), a potentially fatal condition.

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Prostatitis can cause prostate enlargement, which can make urinating or defecating difficult. This enlargement can also cause pain and have an impact on the dog's rear gait. The following are the most common prostatitis symptoms in dogs:

  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Backache
  • Urine in blood
  • Fever
  • Depression or lethargy
  • Appetite loss
  • Prostatomegaly (enlarged prostate)
  • Urinary tract infections that reoccur
  • Rear limbs walk with a stiff gait.
  • Stools in the shape of a thin ribbon
  • Difficult urination and defecation

How do vets diagnose prostatitis in dogs?

To diagnose your dog, your veterinarian may order several tests. When you first arrive at the veterinary clinic, the vet will conduct a physical examination of your dog. They will take careful note of all of their symptoms in order to narrow down the list of possible illnesses. If the vet suspects prostatitis, they will perform a rectal examination on your dog. The vet can use their finger to measure the size of the dog’s prostate. It will be enlarged in cases of prostatitis, with increased sensitivity and pain.

Blood tests will be performed to determine how things are working internally. If your dog has prostatitis, his blood work will show neutrophilia with a left shift as well as monocytosis. Toxic white blood cells may also be uncovered.

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A urinalysis can be performed, and a sample can be sent for culture and sensitivity testing. This is because the material in the prostate and the urine frequently contain the same organisms. The ideal sample would come from the prostate itself, but extreme caution is required. When attempting to collect prostatic material, it is possible to inadvertently release microorganisms into the blood, resulting in septicemia.

An ultrasound may be performed by the veterinarian for more detailed diagnostics. They will be able to look for small pockets of fluid within the prostate as a result of this. Its presence confirms the vet’s suspicions of prostatitis. They may also request a radiograph to get a better look at the organs.

When the prostate is palpated in chronic cases, it may feel normal. The best material to collect and test is an ejaculate specimen rather than a prostate specimen in these cases.

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How is prostatitis in dogs treated?

Antibiotics are required to treat bacterial prostatitis. Acute prostatitis in dogs usually necessitates hospitalization with intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration. Antibiotics are given to hospitalized dogs, and they are closely monitored in case sepsis or other complications develop.

Antibiotics are also used to treat dogs with chronic prostatitis. Antibiotics alone, however, are ineffective in the presence of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Castration is the most effective treatment for BPH. Some dog owners choose not to have their pets neutered (often dogs intended for breeding or the show ring). In these cases, a drug known as finasteride can be used to control the hormone changes associated with BPH.

If prostatic or paraprostatic cysts are discovered, surgery may be required. Piroxicam is a drug that is commonly used to treat prostate cancer.

Can prostatitis in dogs be prevented?

Because prostatitis is uncommon in neutered dogs, neutering your male dog is the best way to prevent it. Prostatitis can be prevented if detected early, so take your dog to the vet if you notice anything is wrong. A routine rectal exam by your veterinarian may also detect prostate changes. Bring your dog to the vet for recommended physical exams, which should include a rectal examination.

What is the prognosis?

If the infection can be eradicated, your dog's recovery time will be significantly accelerated. This is why a follow-up appointment after he has finished his antibiotics is critical. Then, once castration has been performed, your dog should recover normally. The prognosis of a full recovery is good if caught and treated correctly.

World Dog Finder team

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