Men and dogs have a lot in common
SENIOR men and older male dogs have a few things in common.
One could mention selective hearing, increasingly frequent "senior moments" and becoming very familiar with the prostate gland.
In fact there are many similarities between prostate disease in men and intact dogs (male dogs which have not been neutered).
The prostate gland is an accessory sex organ that produces most of the fluid component of semen.
It sits on top of the neck of the urinary bladder and under the rectum.
The normal prostate continues to grow until about two years of age in the dog.
It is strongly influenced by male hormones including testosterone, which is why desexed male dogs rarely have prostate troubles.
The most common condition is benign enlargement of the gland which is a spontaneous age-related condition in men and intact male dogs.
More than 80% over five years of age have a degree of enlargement.
If the prostate gets too big it leads to discomfort with difficulty urinating and also constipation.
Prostatitis is more common in dogs with enlarged, cancerous or cystic glands and is due to bacterial infection with bugs like E Coli.
Dogs with prostatitis are very uncomfortable and walk with a hunched back and stiff gait, and often have a fever.
Severe cases can lead to abscessation requiring surgical intervention and drainage.
Prostate cancer also occurs in dogs but much less commonly than other prostate conditions, and at a mean age of 10 years at the time of diagnosis.
Desexed males get prostate adenocarcinoma cancer at least as commonly as intact dogs.
This disease does not usually end well, the prognosis being grave even with aggressive therapy.
Signs of prostate troubles include tummy pain, straining, blood in urine, difficulty urinating and gait abnormalities.
Surgical and non-surgical castration (with implants or hormone) results in rapid shrinkage of the prostate and is helpful in prevention and treatment of most conditions.