How Do Dogs Get Prostate Cancer
What causes prostate cancer in dogs is largely a mystery, although some research suggests genetics play a key role. Some breeds seem to be more susceptible to prostate cancer, including Doberman pinscher, Shetland sheepdog, Scottish terrier, beagle, miniature poodles, Airedale terrier, German shorthair pointers, and Norwegian elkhounds, according to VCA Hospitals.
Prostate cancer in neutered dogs is less common, as is prostatitis.
End Of Life Care In Dog Cancer
Dr. Demian Dressler is internationally recognized as the dog cancer vet because of his innovations in the field of dog cancer management, and the popularity of his blog here at Dog Cancer Blog. The owner of South Shore Veterinary Care, a full-service veterinary hospital in Maui, Hawaii, Dr. Dressler studied Animal Physiology and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Davis before earning his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University. After practicing at Killewald Animal Hospital in Amherst, New York, he returned to his home state, Hawaii, to practice at the East Honolulu Pet Hospital before heading home to Maui to open his own hospital. Dr. Dressler consults both dog lovers and veterinary professionals, and is sought after as a speaker on topics ranging from the links between lifestyle choices and disease, nutrition and cancer, and animal ethics. His television appearances include Ask the Vet segments on local news programs. He is the author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dogs Life Quality and Longevity. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Avian Veterinarians, the National Animal Supplement Council and CORE . He is also an advisory board member for Pacific Primate Sanctuary.
All my best,
End Stage Of Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is a malignant tumor which generally affects men older than the age of 50. The tumor develops inside the gland located just below the bladder, called the prostate gland. The disease has its own specific course and goes through a distinct stages.
The rate and nature of the progression of prostate cancer is individual and the first symptoms occur when the tumor becomes large enough to initiate compression or infiltrate nearby organs and tissues. Prostate cancer can be also diagnosed accidentally, when the man has a medical checkup for unrelated reasons and the tumor is found over the course of this treatment.
Unfortunately, prostate cancer may remain asymptomatic for a long period of time. In such cases it is diagnosed late, when it has already resulted in bone metastases.
What Is the Life Expectancy for Patients with Prostate Cancer?
End stage prostate cancer also called the terminal stage of prostate cancer is the most advanced stage of the disease. This stage of prostate cancer has its own distinct symptoms and signs which may vary from patient to patient but what is common for all people with end stage of the disease is soon, inevitable lethal outcome. End stage prostate cancer is simply incurable.
Whats A Long Time When It Comes To Survival Times
I assume that from the vets perspective, the removal of the dogs spleen would indeed extend life for a long time.
But this is relative, right? What does that a long time mean, really? It depends upon your perspective.
Some animals only live a few days. Others live decades and a few live hundreds of years. A long time is different for each of these creatures.
For example, for a creature who is expected to live an average of two years, one year is half the lifespan. One year is not a long time for humans unless you are a five-year-old who wants to be six. But for the two-year-lifespan creature, thats definitely a long time.
Dogs have an average life expectancy of 12 years. So one year is 8.3% of life for dogs.
For perspective, humans on average have a life expectancy of 72.6 years. So for humans, 8.3% of their lifespan is 6 years.
Is that a long time? It depends upon your viewpoint. If Im a father looking at my little girl, and the doctor is telling me that she will probably live another 6 years, Im not thinking hey, great, thats 8.3% of her lifespan! No. Im thinking, shes only going to live to be 12?? Six years is not a long time in this scenario. At least, not to me.
But if Im looking at an elderly relative who is sick, and a doctor tells me he is probably going to live another 6 years, I might feel relief. Living close to the average lifespan of a human is often considered a long time when we near the end of our lives.
Canine Prostate Cancer: Life Expectancy
Life expectancy for dogs with prostate cancer depends a lot on how big the tumor is, how severe it is, and if it’s spread. Because this cancer tends to be aggressive, life expectancy can be as little as one month after diagnosis, or as much as 2 years.
In order to extend life expectancy, it is important to reduce the risk of further tumor spread, and also reduce the chances of a secondary infection.
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Clinical Symptoms And Signs
Benign prostatic hyperplasia can lead to all signs described above: locomotor, gastro-intestinal and urinary tract disorders.
Digital palpation is easy and cheap to perform during a routine general examination. Practitioners can assess the position and symmetry of the gland. However, this is not a very accurate examination technique . Rectal examination does not reveal slight prostatomegaly when the prostate remains in the pelvis canal.
Function And Physiological Regulation Of The Prostate In Men And Dogs
Unlike in men, the exact function of the canine prostate is not fully understood. It is known that, as in men, a primary function of the canine prostate is to produce prostatic fluid which aids sperm viability and transport during ejaculation . Canine ejaculate consists of three fractions and prostatic fluid is present in the first and last of these fractions . This prostatic fluid is responsible for over 90% of the ejaculate volume in the dog . These secretions have been shown to have a limited impact on fertility in the canine species and, unlike in humans and rodents, the prostatic fluid is not produced in seminal vesicles as these are absent in the dog . Another difference in dogs compared to other species is that the prostatic fluid lacks simple sugars, with the energy source for sperm remaining elusive . Canine prostatic fluid is known to contain cholesterol, citrate and lactate . Of the proteins within the fluid, canine prostatespecific arginine esterase is the most abundant, comprising up to 90% of seminal proteins and is, hence, used as a marker of prostatic secretions .
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What Is Prostate Cancer In Dogs
The prostate gland is located near the neck of the bladder in male dogs, close to where the urethra exits the bladder. The urethra passes through the prostate gland after exiting the bladder. The canine prostate gland produces some of the fluid found in semen.
Cancer of the prostate occurs when the cells of the prostate gland grow out of control. The most common type of prostate cancer in dogs is adenocarcinoma. The age of the average dog at diagnosis is 10 years old. Like human men, aging dogs can also have a benign enlargement of the prostate. Prostatic cancer in general in dogs is rare.
The exact cause for this cancer is unknown, but there are certain risk factors such as the dogs environment and genetics that may play a role.
Like other types of adenocarcinomas, prostatic adenocarcinoma is highly metastatic, meaning it easily spreads to other parts of the body. In fact, prostatic adenocarcinoma spreads in more than 85% of dogs that develop this type of cancer.
Common sites for the spread of prostatic adenocarcinoma include:
Other parts of the urinary tract
Abdominal organs such as liver and spleen
Uncommon sites of spread also include the brain and spinal cord.
Treatment Options For Dog Prostate Cancer
Surgery, radiation and chemotherapy are the most common ways to treat dog prostate cancer.
Neutering is not a viable option if a dogs prostate growth is cancerous, because the size of the prostate will not shrink as testosterone is not related to the cause of the disease. Castration with the use of anti-androgen drugs, however, may help control the cancer if it is hormone responsive. The benefit of neutering a dog with prostate cancer is a possible reduction in the development of inflammation and infection.
Surgical removal of the prostrate is not recommended because of the complications that may arise, such as urinary incontinence.
Chemotherapy and radiation, even though they are common options, may not bring about the results desired. This type of tumor is not as responsive to chemotherapy and radiation as other cancers. These treatments can shrink the prostate, but usually does not give any relief from the discomfort the dog may be experiencing.
Many dog owners may look to natural or homeopathic remedies to help provide some form of relief to their pets. Herbs and natural supplements most likely will not cure the dog of his cancer, but can help boost his immune system.
Your Veterinarian Is There To Help
If you have done the above steps and are still unsure if you should euthanize, understand that this is normal.
Make an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss your concerns and thoughts with them. They can help support you during this difficult decision.
One of the nicest things we can do for our beloved companions is to allow them to pass in peace and with dignity by limiting the suffering they might experience in their final moments or days.
It is never an easy decision, but ultimately it is a humane one.
Spect/ct Imaging With 111in
Bone metastases are a common feature of spontaneous PCa in dogs and also observed in the DPC-1 model . SPECT/CT pelvic images were further analyzed for the presence of 111In-17G1 tracer in bone segments . A remarkably high uptake was detected in an obturator bone of dog #3 and iliac bone of dog #5 at 4 months post-DPC-1 cell implantation, with S/B ratios of 11.6 and 19.0, respectively. DPC-1 cells in metastatic bones were confirmed to strongly express PSMA .
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Can You Remove A Prostate In Dogs
A prostatectomy is an operation that your dog will almost certainly need if he develops serious or life-threatening problems as a result of his prostate. This procedure will remove either a portion or the full prostate gland in order to save your dog from any prostate problems he may have.
Prostate Cancer in Dogs is a rare condition, and it is prone to only male dogs. Prostate cancer disease can be diagnosed early through routine veterinary check-ups and physical examinations. Also, ensure you contact your veterinarian for advice and/or to schedule a check-up if your pet is showing any unusual signs or symptoms.
Treatment For Prostate Cancer In Dogs
If caught very early in the disease process, before metastasis has occurred, surgical removal of the diseased portion of the prostate may be considered. Surgery is often followed by radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
If metastasis has already occurred, then palliative care should be considered. The goal of palliative care is to relieve pain and any clinical symptoms that may be present, while also trying to improve your dogs quality of life for as long as possible.
If a urinary obstruction is present, a small tube called a stent may be placed within the urethra to keep it open so the dog can urinate. Surgery of the prostate is not often performed when advanced disease is present because of the high risk of complications. Radiation therapy may be considered in certain cases.
Your veterinarian may also recommend a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug to relieve pain. Any urinary tract infection that may be present will be treated with appropriate antibiotics. Chemotherapy may be considered, but long-term efficacy has not been established.
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Warning Signs A Dog Is Dying
OK, here are some things that you can look for to see if your dog is nearing the end of life. Keep in mind that none of these are definitive, and if your dog is only going through one or two of them, it may not mean shes near the end. I have heard from too many readers over the years about turnarounds to think that any one of the following signs definitely means your dog is going for sure.
But if you see several of the following warning signs, all at the same time? Breathe deeply. Well cover some more things for you to do in the next section.
What Are The Clinical Signs
Given the location of the prostate, the most common clinical signs include blood in the urine, a change in urination habits, inability to urinate, and excessive drinking. The colon, located just above the prostate, may become compressed, making it difficult to pass bowel movements. Pets may strain to urinate or defecate, and the stools may become flattened or ribbonlike. Other signs may include lethargy, exercise intolerance, reduced appetite, weight loss, and pain . The pain may be significant in pets that have evidence of metastasis to the bones of the lower back and pelvis.
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Symptoms Of Dog Prostrate Cancer And Detection
Prostate cancer in dogs may present with a variety symptoms that often go undetected until the later stages of the disease. A dog with prostate cancer may have lost weight, have blood in his urine, and be in pain. Kidney problems may also arise due to kidney failure in dogs or a dog urinary tract infection. A dog may also have problems passing stool.
A dogs gait may also be affected as he develops weaknesses in the hind legs.
A vet will use contrast x-rays or a urine sample as initial tests for prostate cancer. Ultrasounds could also be conducted. The most definitive test to diagnose prostate cancer is a biopsy if the dogs rectal wall.
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Signs Of Pain In Dogs With Cancer
It may sound vague, however if your dog begins displaying any behavior that is not typical for them, it could be an indication of pain. Some of the most common signs of pain in dogs include:
- Excessive grooming
- Increased vocalization
Many dog cancers occur later in life, so chances are good that you have had your dog a few years and know their normal behavior well. So, keep your eye out for any behavior that seems strange or unusual for your pet. If your dog isn’t acting like themselves, it’s time for a trip to the vet.
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Diagnosis Of Prostate Cancer In Dogs
The symptoms of prostate cancer are often non-specific since they can also be associated with other types of prostate disease, as well as kidney or bladder infection. The veterinarian will complete a thorough physical examination, including rectal palpation, to check for signs of an enlarged or abnormally shaped prostate. Small samples of cancerous cells can often be found with urinalysis, so this is often an effective way of confirming suspected prostate cancer. Bloodwork will also be taken to evaluate for infection or systemic illness, which might suggest another cause for your dogâs symptoms.
Ultrasound will help to evaluate the size and shape of the prostate more accurately, as well as check for local metastasis. An ultrasound guided biopsy may be necessary to obtain a larger sample of the tumor and diagnose the type of cancer and the degree of malignancy, if possible. Further X-rays of the bones or lungs may be ordered to check for metastasis to these areas. About 80% of dogs with prostatic adenocarcinoma have some type of metastasis present upon diagnosis.
How Long Can A Dog Live After Being Diagnosed With Cancer
Its a big questionand one that has a variety of answers depending on when a dog is diagnosed, the specific type and stage of cancer, and the age of a dog. This post looks at how the most common types of cancer and cancer treatments affect dogs living with cancer. Read our post on cancer causes in dogs to learn about preventative measures.
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Abdominal Discomfort Fever And Weight Loss
The dog seems unwell, lacks energy, his coat becomes dull and he may be listless. He may stop eating, and withdraw in himself. This was the presentation of a wonderful black Labrador I treated for prostatitis.
His illness seemed very general and there were no real clues as to the seat of infection, until I gave him a gentle rectal examination. Through the wall of his rectum the infected prostate generated heat like a burning coal, and the gland wasexcruciatingly painful even to the lightest touch.
These signs are less common and tend to occur in one of three reasons:
1) The prostate gland is infected, which is the commonest reason for fever-associated with prostate disease
2) The hormonal disease BPH has progressed beyond the harmless stage because early signs were missed.
3) Some forms of prostate cancer.
This is one of the reasons early treatment is preferred, because it could save your dog from complications and increased discomfort.
Consider Your Dogs Specific Situation
Before we dive into the conversation of when to euthanize a dog with cancer, its important to realize that every dog is different.
While some pet parents discover a dogs cancer during a drastic decline in their health, others may discover the issue during a routine exam of their happy pup.
Some dogs will have a short span of happy days after their cancer diagnosis. And others will continue to live comfortably for months on end.
Our pups are just like humans in the sense that each and every body will respond differently to medical conditions.
While your veterinarians guidance will help you maneuver this upcoming journey with your sick canine, your daily observations and understanding of their personality will help you make this decision as well.
Now that you understand how different each situation can be based on the dog in question, lets get into the common types of cancer in dogs.
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