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Enlarged prostate in 3.5 y.o. intact dog.

Michael Parkey

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Levi went to the veterinarian earlier this week for annual vaccinations.  Since he is intact, our vet did a digital rectal exam and found a "slightly" or "somewhat" enlarged prostate gland.  Levi is asymptomatic and otherwise very healthy.  We decided to do another exam in 3 months to determine if there is any change.

Of course the normal treatment for intact dogs with enlarged prostate glands is castration.  Levi is not registered and we never intend to breed him.  We did not castrate him because of concerns about health effects of early neutering, but he is beyond that now.  We have had many intact dogs, none of them ever developed the much exaggerated behavior problems predicted for intact males.  On the other hand, some of our castrated dogs have had problems with obesity if their diet was not carefully controlled.

So we have two courses of action.  One, castrate him soon.  Two, wait and see if the enlargement worsens and/or he develops any of the possible symptoms or secondary problems.

I do not want to castrate him because I want to avoid the risk and pain of surgery if possible.  But the big reason is, I really do not want his behavior and disposition to change.  Levi's personality is a perfect match for us:  friendly, confident, affectionate, curious, athletic, and smart.  He is calm when he needs to be and full of energy when the situation calls for it.

So, my questions are:

1.  What medical experiences have you had with enlarged prostate in intact dogs?

2.  If you have castrated a dog of this age, did you see any changes in behavior or disposition?

We have some time to make the decision, and the second exam may make it for us.  But I would like to have input from experienced BC people.

Thank you!

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I have just castrated my 9 year old dog George.  The vets have been checking his prostate gland every checkup for several years, and suggesting that we may want to castrate him as his prostate was slightly enlarged, but as it was only a slight enlargement, and not painful we had not done anything.  But recently George had infected anal glands, which had to be treated under anaesthetic due to the pain, and when they checked his prostate gland it was big enough that they more strongly recommended castration.  Since we want him around for a lot longer, we agreed.  His stitches came out a couple of days ago. 

Our other three dogs are all castrated, two of them while in our house, and I have never felt that they have significantly changed in behaviour.  Our youngest dog was a rescue and was castrated well after his second birthday.  He is pretty much the same in disposition and behaviour.  It is possible that he has calmed down a little since being castrated, but he is still bouncy and full of energy. 

We do keep a fairly close eye on our dogs weight, and adjust food amounts accordingly.


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To be honest, there was no suggested regime of checking up beyond whenever he had to come in yearly for vaccinations, and if he came in for any other reason they would just check as part of the examination.  George has been having issues with his anal glands not expressing properly, so we have probably had him in maybe three times in the last 18 months, and his prostate was pretty much unchanged from "slightly enlarged" until the last time, but as he was getting older, the risks increase, as do the risks of anaesthesia, so we decided the time was right.

I think they have probably been gently encouraging us to consider castration since 2018.  But they also recommended keeping an eye on him when he pees, to see if he strained or has intermittent flow, which might be symptoms of a worsening prostate.

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Also, out of the four dogs that we have castrated in our time, George was the only one who suffered any side effects of the procedure, but that was moderate to severe pyoderm, or razor burn.  We were prescribed a steroid cream to apply twice a day, and some tablets for the itch/irritation.  Normally they would prescribe oral steroids, but he was on a NSAID pain relief, and he could not have that and oral steroids.

This was completely unexpected, and meant the cone stayed on until all the stitches came out and the rash had healed enough.

I guess he is just a sensitive soul!B):D


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