My dog has recurring prostate infections and I’m interested in hormone blocking injections instead of neutering. Are these safe and effective?
Original Question: Hi Dr., Smokey is an intact Boxer/German Shepherd and is almost 8 years old. For the last 18 months he has been treated for prostate infections, off-and-on with Baytril. He is treated every 3 months as the infection returns. He has had 2 ultrasounds a year apart to confirm infection and no cancer, at Miss/Oakville emerg. I have been told to neuter him but I am leary to as he has been treated for a kidney issue before; a year with kidney food and now the ultrasound shows good kidneys. Still, I did not want to take a chance with surgery, and I'm looking for an alternative to neutering. I’ve of zeutering but I can't find a vet to do this. Also, I have heard of hormone blocking, as well as a drug called Flutamide or Apo-Flutamide which prevents testosterone from binding to the prostate. (Also it's used to treat prostate cancer in men). My vet is willing to keep him on Baytril off-and-on, but of course I want to try and prevent the infection from recurring. If any of this may work, or if you have something else to suggest, please let me know. Thank you. - Shane
It sounds like you are very committed to helping your dog with his condition. You obviously want to do what is in his best interest, which is great. Prostatitis (bacterial infection of the prostate) in intact male dogs can be a frustrating condition to deal with. It requires a very long course of antibiotic treatment, and even then, may not be eliminated entirely (which sounds like what you have experienced with Smokey). As you indicated, neutering (removing the testes) can be an effective treatment for this condition since it dramatically reduces testosterone levels. I can certainly understand your hesitations about surgery and anesthesia – however the alternatives are quite limited.
According to my own research into this, the non-surgical “neutering” injections (as you mentioned) that that can reduce testosterone but leave the testes intact do exist, however availability is limited for these products (especially in Canada). I personally have never used them and would not be able to advise on their use or efficacy for treating prostatitis. There are also oral medications that can reduce testosterone levels, and in turn, reduce the size of the prostate. However, these may not provide a long-term resolution of the problem.
If seeking these alternative treatments is a priority for you, booking a consult with a reproductive specialist (called a Theriogenologist) as you mentioned, would be a great idea. Another suggestion I have for you would be to consult with a board-certified veterinary surgeon in partnership with a board-certified veterinary anesthesiologist – this higher level of care may help ease some of your concerns in terms of the risks of surgery. I hope this gives you some direction and I hope you can find a solution that works for you and Smokey.
Dr. Kim Hester
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