Canine prostate cancer is different in some respects and similar in others when compared with prostate cancer in humans. Unlike prostate cancer in humans, which is a slow-progressing condition, canine prostate cancer is a highly aggressive and invasive disease. In many cases, the life expectancy is barely thirty days after diagnosis. On the other hand, it produces symptoms that are similar to prostate cancer in humans and is detected just as late, although the basis of the disease is the same as in humans. However, treatment modalities are largely different and restricted in the case of canine prostate cancer.
Cancer cells in dogs that have prostate cancer metastasize (spread) to other parts of the body like bones, lungs and lymph nodes at a fast speed. An abnormal gait is common in dogs with prostate cancer due to the affect that it has on bones. The prostate gland encircles the urethra, and its enlargement causes difficulty in urination (dysuria). Some dogs may also show symptoms such as a difficulty in passing stools or an inclination to defecate without significant production of feces due to spasms in the anal sphincter.
Prostate cancer in dogs does not give out prostate specific antigens (PSA) that are used to diagnose prostate cancer in humans. In dogs, what is given out is something known as CPSE (canine prostate specific esterase). This makes it difficult to diagnose the prevalence of prostate cancer in canines. Initial diagnosis is done by using contrast X-Rays and testing urine samples. However, final and conclusive confirmation is possible only on performing a biopsy of the rectal wall.
In some cases, an enlargement of the prostate gland produces symptoms that are similar to those of prostate cancer. No treatment is required in such cases if the enlargement is non-cancerous. Even though the symptoms of benign enlargement are similar to those of prostate cancer, the intensity of the symptoms is much lower. If castration is possible, then neutering the dog should inhibit enlargement.
Treatment modalities of prostate cancer, however, are limited since the condition is much more complicated than in humans. Most of the times, the cancer is not responsive to hormonal treatment and surgery is often ruled out, as it involves a greater risk to the life of the dog.
Like many other cancers like canine lung cancer and melanoma in dogs, canine prostate cancer is a fatal condition. Prognosis is poor and all that you can do is to make life comfortable for your dog. You could look for some home remedies or alternative therapies like homeopathy for alleviating the symptoms, as the condition can be extremely painful at times.