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Prostate Inflammation and Abscessation in Dogs

Prostatitis and Prostatic Abscess in Dogs

Prostate inflammation and abscess formation in dogs often manifest as prostatitis, which is an inflammation of the prostate gland characterized by the presence of a pus-filled sac. Typically, this condition arises from an untreated infection that has persisted over time. Prostatitis is categorized into two stages: acute, which is the early phase, and chronic, which occurs later in the progression of the disease.

Acute prostatitis arises suddenly due to a bacterial infection in the prostate gland. In some cases, the abscess may rupture, leading to the release of its contents into the abdominal cavity.

Chronic prostatitis develops when an infection persists over time without detection. Additionally, acute prostatitis can progress to chronic prostatitis if initial symptoms are overlooked or untreated.

Symptoms and Types

Abrupt Onset (Acute) Prostatitis

  • Lethargy or depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty during defecation
  • Trouble urinating
  • Presence of fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloody discharge from the urethra
  • Stiff gait

Persistent (Chronic) Prostatitis

  • Possible absence of observable symptoms


All male dogs face the risk of developing prostatitis, with no specific breeds being exempt or more susceptible than others. However, dogs aged between 7 to 11 years are at a heightened risk. Some factors contributing to this condition include:

  • Bacteria migrating from the urinary tract to the prostate
  • Bacterial dissemination to the prostate from other body areas
  • Bacteria reaching the prostate from a site of injury
  • Presence of functional testes (hormonal factors)
  • Prostate enlargement
  • History of receiving male or female hormone treatments
  • Compromised immune system


To diagnose your dog’s condition, it’s essential to provide your veterinarian with a comprehensive history of your dog’s health and medical background, along with details regarding the onset of symptoms and any potential triggering incidents. This information can offer valuable insights into the potential causes of the condition. Your veterinarian will conduct a thorough physical examination of your dog, which includes standard laboratory tests such as a blood chemical profile, complete blood count, electrolyte panel, and urinalysis. These tests help assess organ function and identify factors like bacterial infections, microscopic traces of blood in the urine, or elevated white blood cell counts indicating an ongoing infection.

Observations may include the presence of blood in the urine, which can occur even outside of urination in dogs with prostatitis. Some affected dogs may experience pain during urination or show signs of constipation with flattened feces.

During the physical examination, your veterinarian will manually examine the prostate gland by inserting a gloved finger into your dog’s rectum. If your dog displays signs of discomfort or if the prostate feels enlarged, biopsies will be necessary for further examination, including histopathology, cytology, and culture and sensitivity testing.


If bacterial infection is identified as the cause of prostatitis, your dog will likely require hospitalization for intravenous administration of antibiotics. For cases of mild chronic prostatitis, outpatient treatment may suffice.

Castration may be recommended to alleviate prostatitis of hormonal origin, particularly in intact dogs who are more susceptible to such conditions. Your veterinarian might also prescribe hormone-blocking medications to reduce the likelihood of recurrence.

In instances where the prostate is ruptured or abscessed, surgical intervention may be necessary following stabilization of the condition through antibiotic therapy.

Recovery and Management

Unless a prostatic abscess has ruptured into the abdominal cavity, the prognosis for your dog’s recovery remains favorable to excellent. If your dog remains intact, it’s crucial to prevent mating until it has fully recuperated from bacterial prostatitis and until no bacteria are detectable in the prostatic fluid samples obtained during follow-up visits with your veterinarian.

If castration is recommended by your veterinarian to prevent prostatitis recurrence, your dog’s overall prognosis will significantly improve. Should your dog display symptoms such as difficulty urinating, painful gait, or other signs observed during the prostatitis episode, promptly contact your veterinarian as it could indicate a recurrence of the condition.

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