In many cases, treatment is not required for dogs with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), especially if the dog is showing no clinical symptoms of discomfort or distress. The goals of treatment are to resolve any clinical signs of the condition, relieve any discomfort and restore the dog’s pain-free quality of life.
Dogs with BPH that show no signs of their condition typically do not require treatment. The most effective treatment for BPH – indeed, the best way to prevent it in the first place – is to neuter (castrate) male dogs. Castration is completely curative and is far more effective than any pharmacological treatment. The surgery should be delayed in dogs that have both BPH and a bacterial prostate or urinary tract infection, until the infection is resolved.
If the owner is not willing to neuter his or her dog, there are some prescription medications that can temporarily shrink the prostate gland, with the goal being to relieve the dog’s discomfort. Owners should discuss these drugs with their veterinarians, as they can have some undesirable side effects. Drugs only provide temporary relief and may adversely affect the dog’s fertility, which owners should realize if they are not neutering their male dog because they intend to use him as part of a breeding program. Prolonged use of some of these drugs may also predispose the dog to developing diabetes mellitus and/or adrenal gland disorders.
Intact males that develop benign prostatic hyperplasia have an excellent prognosis following castration. That simple surgical procedure will cause rapid shrinkage (involution) of the prostate gland within a matter of days, and will quickly relieve any discomfort that the dog has been suffering as a result of its condition. Within roughly 4 weeks after neutering, the dog’s symptoms should be completely resolved. Dogs with BPH who are not neutered but are treated with drug therapy may improve temporarily, but their symptoms usually will return after their drug therapy ends.