On October 11th, 2018, our beloved Westie, Finnigan, at the age of 9, was diagnosed with Prostate cancer. One day later, he was gone. Our little warrior, jokester, lover of the hunt. Finnigan, who’s presence was so large, that the absence of him is deafening.
My heart shatters over and over each time I realize, I will never again, run my fingers through his fur or cuddle with him after he has wriggled under the covers.
Never, to ever again, see him chase squirrels and rabbits through our yard or bark relentlessly at the mailman.
I had never heard of Canine Prostate cancer in a neutered dog. I thought neutering my boys would protect them from, at the very least, this type of horrific prognosis.
But, I was wrong…
I seen the signs, but you see Finnigan was also diagnosed with a hernia. So, the signs I (and the vet) thought were related to the hernia were the signs of something far more sinister. And the hernia, well, it was a by-product of the straining.
I am the Dog Mom who continually researches, reads and learns about all the latest issues, illnesses and side effects, to better serve my little beloved companions. I have dedicated my life to working with pets.
Please take the time to research and understand, the signs and symptoms of this silent and insidious disease.
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer in Dogs
Dogs with this cancer show similar signs and symptoms as those with other prostate problems, such as prostate enlargement, although for prostate enlargement, the intensity of the signs is much lower.
Watch out for these symptoms if you have a male dog, especially an older dog:
- Urination Problems: A dog with prostate cancer has difficulty urinating. He has to strain to urinate and has to urinate frequently. You may find blood in his urine. Sometimes you may also see blood or pus dripping from the dog’s penis.
- Bowel Problems: A dog with prostate cancer may also suffer from constipation. Quite often, you will see the dog straining during bowel movements.
- Gait Abnormality: If a dog has prostate cancer, he will walk unnaturally. His steps are short and his rear legs are stiff.
- Other Systemic Problems: Other problems are rather indistinct, and may include fever, weakness, and lethargy.
Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer in Dogs
If this cancer is suspected in your dog, your veterinarian will suggest conducting initial tests such as urinalysis, x-rays and abdominal ultrasound.
If these initial tests highly suggest cancer, a biopsy of the rectal wall is required to get a definitive diagnosis.
Treatment for Dog Prostate Cancer
Unfortunately, treatment options are limited.
Castration usually has no effect on dogs that have prostate cancer. Removing the prostate gland by surgery is not recommended in dogs because of its location. Very often surgery can cause numerous complications (one of which is urinary incontinence).
The only option available is using chemo drugs and/or radiation to try to shrink down the tumor.
However, chemotherapy and radiation are not really effective and usually fails to give the dog any relief from pain and discomfort. It also does not significantly extend the patient’s life.
Canine prostate cancer is rare, but when it strikes, it is a fatal disease with a very poor prognosis. Average survival rate is only 6 weeks to one year.