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Prostate disease in dogs: symptoms and screening

What does ‘benign prostatic hyperplasia’ (BPH) mean?

Like humans male dogs have an accessory genital gland called the prostate, that intervenes in the reproductive function. In some situations, this gland can grow and cause different disorders. This is benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH.

The prostate is a secretory gland that produces most of the fluid emitted by male dogs during ejaculation. The size of the prostate is determined by a male hormone, testosterone.

Under the effect of age or hormonal disorders, this gland, composed of two lobes, can grow abnormally. The increase in the size of the prostate gland is linked to the multiplication of the number and the increase of the size of the prostate cells.

Localized below the rectum, a hypertrophied prostate will then mechanically compress the adjacent organs, which may result in various clinical signs: constipation, difficulty in defecating and / or urinating, locomotor signs such as lameness or stiffness of the hind limbs, bleeding when your dog urinates…

BPH is also accompanied by a decline in fertility.

The importance of screening

BPH is particularly common in the canine species, as 80% of male dogs over 6 years are concerned, even if the symptoms do not always appear immediately. In contrast to the man, whose prostatic affections are often of tumoral origin, this is not the case in dogs, even if it remains possible. In BPH, ‘benign’ indeed means non-tumoral. However, the symptoms can be very bothersome for your dog and require medical intervention.

In addition to BPH, your male dog may also be subject to other prostatic conditions, more or less severe (prostatitis, tumor…). Any suggestive disorder should therefore motivate a veterinary consultation.

There are screening methods (digital rectal examination, blood test) and, depending on the case, your vet may implement different complementary tests to specify the damage (imaging, puncture…).

The management of BPH is based on medical treatment of BPH or castration (chemical or surgical). Ask your vet for advice.


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