Only 0.3 – 0.6% of all dogs get prostate cancer. Though rare, this cancer is highly aggressive. There are several types of cancers that affect a dog’s prostate. Adenocarcinoma, leiomyosarcoma, and squamous cell carcinoma are examples of prostate cancer in dogs. Dealing with prostate cancer can be a harrowing experience for both dog and owner. With the right information, however, you can prepare yourself and your dog adequately for the tough journey ahead. We answer some of your biggest concerns about canine prostate cancer. Hopefully, this will help ease your mind and alleviate any worry you may experience.
Can a neutered dog get prostate cancer?
While neutering your dog can yield some significant benefits, it will not prevent your dog from getting prostate cancer. A study conducted at Utrecht University Clinic of Companion Animals showed that neutered dogs had a higher chance of getting prostate carcinoma (PCA). According to this study, castration favored tumor progression. However, neutering your dog does not initiate the development of PCA.
How do I know my dog has prostate cancer?
The symptoms of prostate cancer are very similar to other types of illnesses in a dog which makes it difficult to diagnose the disease. If you notice your dog hunching its back, scooting the anus, or experiencing pain while urinating or defecating, there may be a chance that it has prostate cancer. Other symptoms include:
- holding the tail in an awkward position
- decreases appetite
- blood in urine and stool
- weight loss
- unwilling to move or exercise
Take your dog to see the vet as soon as you notice any combination of these symptoms.
What is the canine prostate cancer life expectancy?
Prostate cancer is very deadly in dogs and has a high probability of metastasizing and spreading to other organs such as the lungs, liver, and lymph nodes. A 2006 study reported a median survival time of about 130 days. Most dogs tend to be euthanized because of metastasis or tumor progression. Researchers also found that subtotal intracapsular prostatectomy gave the dog better chances of survival and fewer postoperative complications than a total prostatectomy.
Can prostate cancer in dogs be cured?
Unfortunately, there aren’t any known cures for canine prostate cancer yet. There are various treatments available, including surgery, but all these are geared towards extending the survival period and not actually curing the disease. Usually, the cancer is detected when the tumor has already progressed significantly, hence the high risks experienced in surgery. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) also help to alleviate some of the uncomfortable symptoms of prostate cancer. NSAIDs like carprofen and piroxicam can help to extend the survival time for dogs. A combination of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and NSAIDs can extend the survival period to 20 months.
What causes canine prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer in dogs is usually idiopathic, that is, causes are normally not known. Age is a huge factor in the development of cancer, though. Scientists also believe hormonal imbalance may play a role in the appearance of prostate cancer. Larger breeds are more likely to get PCA than smaller ones. As mentioned earlier, neutered dogs have a higher chance of getting PCA. Unneutered dogs can still experience other non-cancerous prostate conditions such as prostatitis and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
Are there home remedies for prostate cancer in dogs?
Financial constraints are a huge concern for owners with dogs suffering from prostate cancer. Treatments aren’t cheap, and vet bills can easily add up. No home remedy can replace the medical treatments required to give your dog the best chance at survival. Nonetheless, there are some over-the-counter and natural alternatives that you can give your dog to ease the discomfort. Turmeric works well to reduce inflammation as it contains curcumin, an anti-inflammatory substance that has been shown to kill cancer cells. Cannabis oil may also help to reduce tumor progression as it contains CBD and THC, both of which cause the cancer cells to kill themselves.
We hope these answers help you make informed decisions for your pet. Determining the best course of action with your vet early on in the process can greatly increase the quality of life and chances of survival for your dog. Keep an eye out for any of the symptoms mentioned above, and more importantly, ensure your dog has a balanced diet with all the necessary nutrients for a long, healthy life.
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