The month of November is Canine Prostate Awareness Month. Just like humans, male dogs are susceptible to prostate disease, and they should be checked regularly for any signs of the illness. Did you know that over 80% of unneutered male dogs over 5 years of age suffer from some form of prostate disease?
The most common form of prostate disease is BPH, or Benign Prostate Hyperplasia, which occurs when the prostate gets larger due to the effects of testosterone.
The prostate is a secretory gland and is part of a male animal’s reproductive system. Its function is to create an ideal environment for sperm to survive and move around in. It sits at the top of the urethra (tube connecting the bladder to the outside) near the neck of the bladder, and this is why it has an effect on urination when it enlarges, as it constricts the urethra and makes passing fluid difficult and painful.
Because the hormone testosterone directly affects the growth of the prostate, unneutered males are far more likely to experience problems with prostate enlargement and go on to develop BPH. In fact, the only way to prevent your dog from acquiring BPH is to have them neutered. You can find out more about the benefits of neutering your pet.
BPH is painful for the dog experiencing it, but because they can’t tell you they are in pain, you most likely won’t even know your dog has it until the disease has reached an advanced stage. At this point, your dog will likely have trouble urinating and may even pass blood in their urine. They may also have trouble defecating and may produce squashed, flat stools. Another sign that your dog is suffering from BPH is that they may exhibit a stiff or uncomfortable looking gait or an arched back.
The only way to prevent your dog from reaching this advanced stage is to catch the disease early, and this means taking them to your local vet for regular check-ups.
So if your dog is over 5 years old and unneutered, it is a great idea to get them checked for prostate disease. Remember, if they are experiencing any pain, they will be unable to tell you. That’s why it’s so important for pet owners to take the initiative, and what better time to do so than during Canine Prostate Awareness Month! If you would like to get your dog checked for BPH or any other prostate problem, you can use our online practice finder to find your local vet.
Posted November 24, 2015 in Pet Care Advice