Prostatitis and Prostatic Abscess in Cats
Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate that is commonly the result of a long-standing infection that has gone undetected. An abscess of the prostate, demonstrated by a pus filled sac, may lead to prostatitis. Prostatitis is divided into two phases: acute (early), and chronic (later, farther into the disease).
Acute prostatitis occurs with the sudden onset of a bacterial infection in the prostate. Occasionally, the abscess may rupture and its contents will spill into the abdominal cavity.
Chronic prostatitis occurs when a long-standing infection has gone undetected. Acute prostatitis may also lead to chronic prostatitis, with the initial symptoms being missed.
Symptoms and Types
Sudden (Acute) Prostatitis
Long-Term (Chronic) Prostatitis
- May have no detectable signs
- Straining to defecate
- Difficulty urinating
- Bloody discharge from the urethra
- Bacteria moving up from the urinary passage to the prostate
- Bacteria spreading to the prostate from other parts of the body
- Bacteria spreading from a wound site to the prostate
- Presence of functional testicles (hormonal)
- Enlarged prostate
- Medical history of administration of male hormone or female hormone
- Faulty immune system
All breeds and mixed breed (male) cats are at risk for prostatitis; no genetic link for this disease is known.
You will need to give your veterinarian a thorough history of your cat's health and medical history, details of the onset of symptoms, and possible incidents that might have led to this condition. The history you provide may give your veterinarian clues as to the leading cause of the condition. Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical exam on your cat, including standard laboratory tests like a blood chemical profile, a complete blood count, an electrolyte panel, and a urinalysis. This is the only way to determine whether the organs are functioning properly, and to find factors such as bacterial infections, microscopic evidence of blood in the urine, or increased white blood cell counts, indicative of the body fighting an infection.
There may be blood in the urine. In cats with prostatitis, they may bleed even when not urinating. Sometimes an affected cat will not urinate at all, or will show pain while urinating. Feces may also appear flat and/or the cat may be constipated.
During the physical exam, your veterinarian will insert a gloved finger into your cat's rectum to palpate the prostate gland. If your cat reacts painfully, and/or the prostate feels enlarged, biopsies will need to be taken for a histopathology, cytology and culture, and sensitivity testing.
If the cause of the prostatitis is bacterial, your cat will need to be hospitalized and given antibiotics intravenously. If your cat is only suffering from a mild case of chronic prostatitis it may be treated on an outpatient basis.
Castration can relieve prostatitis if it is hormonal in origin, as animals that have not been neutered are more prone to this type of disease. Your veterinarian may also prescribe hormone-blocking medications to lessen the chance of a recurrence.
If your cat is suffering from a ruptured, abscessed prostate, it might require surgery, but only after the antibiotic therapy has stabilized its condition.
Living and Management
Unless your cat has a prostatic abscess which has ruptured into the abdominal cavity, its prognosis for recovery is still good to excellent. If your cat is able to remain whole (i.e., not neutered), you will need to prevent it from mating until it has recovered from the bacterial prostatitis and until no more bacteria are present in the prostatic fluid samples. These samples will be taken for laboratory analysis during the follow-up visits with your veterinarian.
IIf your veterinarian advises you to have your cat castrated in order to prevent a recurrence of prostatitis, its overall prognosis will greatly improve as a result. If your cat appears to have difficulty urinating again, is walking with a painful gait, or is exhibiting other symptoms it had during the bout with prostatitis, immediately contact your veterinarian, as prostatitis may be recurring.
A product made of fluid, cell waste, and cells
The very end of the large intestine
An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness
An inflammation of the prostate gland
A tube found between the bladder and the outside of the body; used to assist in urination.
The prediction of a disease’s outcome in advance
A localized infection, usually a lesion filled with pus. Can be large or small in size.
Term used to imply that a situation or condition is more severe than usual; also used to refer to a disease having run a short course or come on suddenly.
The term used to describe the movement of an animal
The space in the abdomen that holds the major digestive organs in an animal. Normally referred to as the area between the diaphragm and the pelvis. Also referred to as the peritoneal cavity.
The gland around the urethra that secretes the fluid to allow sperm to move about