Diseases of the prostate gland affect about 80 per cent of unneutered male dogs over the age of 8. The most common prostate illness is prostatitis, or infection of the prostate. In a dog, the prostate is directly below the rectum, he is more likely to show symptoms when trying to defecate than trying to urinate. It can make passing stool painful and might make him reluctant to do so. He also might have a fever, lethargy, depressed appetite and cloudy urine.
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Chronic versus Acute
Prostatitis can either be an acute or chronic infection. Acute prostatitis flares up suddenly and requires immediate veterinary treatment. Chronic prostatitis also requires a vet exam, along with long-term treatments. Prostatitis is likely to recur, and dogs with acute prostatitis might eventually develop chronic prostatitis.
Antibiotics are the first treatment of choice for prostatitis. Not all antibiotics can cross into prostate tissue. Most effective include erythromycin, clindamycin, chloramphenicol and sulfonamide. When the infection is chronic, the vet has more time to perform cultures to determine the best antibiotic. With acute prostatitis, your vet will probably prescribe one of the anibiotics listed while waiting for lab results--once he knows more, he might change the antibiotic. Acute prostatitis usually requires four weeks of antibiotics. Chronic prostatitis is usually treated for at least six weeks but might not be resolved in that time. Your dog could require lifelong antibiotic treatment--if so, the dosage will be far lower. Your dog will need a follow-up culture after finishing antibiotics to ensure the infection is gone.
Some dogs will require IV fluid administration and a stay in the hospital in the condition is serious or has gone untreated for a while. The IV is useful for countering sepsis (blood infection) and shock, maintaining blood pressure and rehydrating your dog.
Prostatitis is painful, especially in acute cases. Your vet will probably administer an analgesic, though some dogs with chronic cases might not need pain medicine--the swelling of their prostate has progressed over time, allowing them to acclimate. Your vet might suggest a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) during treatment to keep swelling in check. NSAIDs should be used with caution because of the risks of kidney and liver damage. The most common NSAID for canines is aspirin.
If your dog has a chronic case, neutering might prove helpful. Incidences of prostate disease and prostatitis are much lower in neutered dogs, because neutering interrupts the flow of testosterone, which is what makes the prostate swell. Lowering hormonal levels causes the prostate to shrink. Neutering is usually suggested for dogs with chronic cases. It can also be effective in acute cases to prevent recurrences and the eventual development of chronic prostatitis.
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