Prostatic Neoplasia in the Intact and Castrated Dog: How Dangerous is Castration?
Department of Animal Medicine, Production and Health (MAPS), University of Padua, 35122 Padova PD, Italy
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Received: 12 November 2019 / Revised: 17 December 2019 / Accepted: 2 January 2020 / Published: 5 January 2020
Castration of dogs is a routinely performed surgery to limit unwanted reproduction and prevent pathologies of the genital tract. Over the last two decades, the number of reports on possible long-term health risks has increased. Pet-owners have easier access to scientific publications and are concerned about reports on increased risks of castrated dogs for neoplastic diseases. Divulgation of results without consideration of study design and inclusion criteria for the studied populations may result in premature conclusions impacting many stakeholders. Our aim is to provide a detailed description of prostatic cancer in the dog and the possible side effects of castration. Age at diagnosis ranges from 8.5 to 11.2 years in both intact and castrated dogs. A cytological or histological exam is needed to confirm a suspect. Most dogs already present metastasis at the time of diagnosis which makes prognosis generally poor, also if lung metastasis reportedly has no negative impact on the survival time. Castrated dogs with prostate cancer have been reported to live longer than intact ones. We conclude that until today, we knew too little to exclude routine castration of adult male dogs under six years of age from the veterinary practice due to concerns of causing prostatic neoplasia.