Ending the life of a beloved pet is never an easy decision to make. There are many factors that should be considered when it comes to ending the life of a dog with prostate cancer. Certainly, quality of life and pain are a few common considerations, but how do you know when to euthanize your dog with prostate cancer?
Dog prostate cancer when to euthanize
Treatment is not always possible when a dog has prostate cancer. The tumor may be inoperable or too large to treat effectively. In these cases, medical management keeps the dog comfortable until it dies from other causes. Some owners will opt for euthanasia at this point because they don’t want their pets to suffer from cancer. But if medical management is successful, the dog can live for months or even years after diagnosis.
Here are some signs that indicate it is time to say goodbye:
- Lethargy or fatigue
- Recurring weight loss
- Hind end weakness
- Inability to urinate
- Fever and/or chills
- Excessive thirst or hunger
Dogs with prostatic carcinoma are usually euthanized because it is very painful and incurable. The dog may be well until the tumor grows large enough to invade the surrounding structures. The most common signs of the disease are straining to urinate, bloody urine, and lethargy.
Are dogs with prostate cancer in pain?
Prostate cancer in dogs is often painful, aggressive, and lethal. This cancer, which is almost always confined to the prostate gland, causes most deaths in older male dogs. Canine prostate cancer can be treated successfully if caught early enough. However, once metastasis occurs, the cancer becomes incurable and fatal.
How long can a dog with prostate cancer live?
The median survival time of the animals with prostatic carcinoma was 103 days, according to one study. In 5 animals that clinically benefited from the surgery, the median survival time was 183 days. The other 3 animals died within 16 days.
How can I help my dog with prostate cancer?
Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy combined with drugs such as piroxicam or carprofen, which are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). This type of treatment adds only a few extra months to your dog’s life expectancy but can provide some comfort and quality of life.
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are two common treatments to help manage prostate cancer in its later stages. These treatments may help increase the quality of life for some time after diagnosis and slow tumor progression, but they do not guarantee a cure.
Many pet owners are hesitant to give their dogs chemotherapy because of the potential side effects from drugs like vincristine or prednisone. However, with so many different chemotherapies available today, it is important to talk with your vet about potential side effects as well as drug prices
Do not feed your dog aspirin or any other NSAID without first consulting with your vet. These drugs can cause stomach ulcers in dogs.
What happens when a dog gets prostate cancer?
The most common symptom of prostate cancer is blood in the urine (hematuria) and sometimes straining to urinate. Other symptoms include frequent urination with only small amounts of urine produced at any one time, difficulty urinating, pain while urinating or defecating, and dribbling when urinating. Affected dogs often cry while attempting to void their bladder or bowels.
In addition to these symptoms, some dogs have no noticeable signs such as weight loss or appetite loss. Others seem normal until they collapse due to a sudden onset of paralysis caused by a spinal cord tumor related to the cancer in the prostate gland (intracavernosal carcinoma).
When the tumor spreads beyond the prostate gland itself, it can invade bone (osteoblastic metastasis), causing bone pain and lameness.
If your dog’s cancer has progressed to the point where it is affecting his quality of life, it may be time to consider euthanasia. The decision is an individual one that you must make based on your dog’s current condition and your own values regarding the quality of life, pain management, and expense. When deciding whether or not to treat cancer in dogs, your vet will take into consideration what the dog would want, should he be able to express it.