Castration does not prevent prostate cancer in dogs


The disease most often manifests itself in neutered dogs and its treatment requires surgery and chemotherapy. (Photo: Fabrícia Albuquerque/O Sul)

Castration is a very controversial topic. Several studies carried out show the controversies of the indications for the procedure. Not only do we have updates of previously past information, but also news relating castration to behavior, for example.

For many years, castration of females and males was advocated as a precaution against breast and prostate cancers. For this very reason, many tutors castrated their female dogs before six months of age, to reduce the chance of mammary tumors as much as possible. However, studies show that, by not having the bath of sexual hormones in the brain, behavioral changes can occur, such as accentuating fear, anxiety and even aggressive behavior. In addition to a greater chance of bone cancers.

When we think of males, the subject also requires reflection. Prostate cancer most often manifests itself in neutered dogs as well. That doesn’t mean I don’t indicate castration, but that each case should be evaluated. It’s not a general protocol to neuter all dogs and that’s it. Remembering that castration is the most effective method of population control.

Back to prostate cancer…

There is still confusion and mismatch of information when it comes to the animal’s prostate. “There are two similar problems, but with completely different consequences and treatments: prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer” explains veterinarian Renata Setti, specialist in oncology at the WeVets veterinary hospital. According to the specialist, hyperplasia, a type of benign tumor, can be avoided with castration, whereas prostate cancer (malignant tumor) develops in animals and its treatment requires surgery and chemotherapy.

Symptoms of prostate tumor in dogs:
— Urinating several times in small amounts;
— Presence of blood in the urine;
— Change in the shape of the stool (in ribbon or crushed form);
— Apathy;
— Retention of stool and urine.

Although the signs are exactly the same, the care protocols and treatments are totally different, as well as the consequences. It is only possible to detect whether the prostate is enlarged and whether it is a benign (prostatic hyperplasia) or malignant (prostate cancer) tumor, through some tests that, in the vast majority, are painless and non-invasive.

“The prostate is a gland that is part of the male reproductive system and is located in the pelvic region of the animal. In pets, prostate cancer is rare, but over time it is common for this gland to increase in size and undergo other changes that can impact the quality of life of the animal”, explains Fernanda Ambrosino, veterinary product manager pets from Ceva Saúde Animal.

Because it is an extremely aggressive cancer that, for the most part, only manifests itself in animals over ten years old and has a potential for very rapid growth, prevention is extremely important. It is recommended that the animal undergo follow-up from the age of 9 years.

If the dog presents any of the symptoms, it is recommended to go immediately to the veterinarian, the sooner the diagnosis is made, the more chances of success in the treatment.