Dog Prostate Problems and Palmetto

by Anonymous Reader Question

X-Ray Showing Prostate Cancer (Photo Credit: Washington State University)

X-Ray Showing Prostate Cancer (Photo Credit: Washington State University)

Reader Question on Dog Prostate Problems

I have a 14-year-old German Shepherd which I took in when he was 5 - a stray. He's been an absolute joy! I have several other dogs and cats all of which are spayed and neutered. I wanted to have him neutered when I got him, but because of a heart murmur, the vet thought he was best left alone - especially since he showed no signs of aggression and all my other pets were altered.

About a year ago he started showing signs of a prostate problem -unable to urinate and just drops while straining. Because of his heart problem, I was very nervous about having him neutered and since I'd read so much about using saw palmetto and stinging nettles for prostate problems, I gave it a try and "it worked" wonderfully for 6 mos. All of a sudden it didn't do the job and he was again unable to urinate, so had to make the decision to take a chance and have him neutered.

He did great and had no problems. That was 2 months ago, and just this morning he once again was having difficulty emptying his bladder - just a few drops at a time. Vet now says it could be prostate cancer and not just enlarged prostate.

I'm in a dilemma and my question is: Is it safe to give saw palmetto to a dog that has been neutered - are there any dangerous side effects??? The only option my vet has is giving him a shot of estrogen (which he had given him before he neutered him.)

I'm not fond of doing that as I'd much prefer using something natural - ie saw palmetto and stinging nettles.

Please reply asap and thank you so much for the opportunity to write for advice.

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Aug 16, 2014
Vet Suggestion on Palmetto for Dog Prostate Problems
by: Jennifer Coates, DVM


I’m so sorry to hear of your dog’s condition but am thankful that he found an owner as dedicated as you to help him through these difficult times. Research on the effects of saw palmetto and stinging nettles on prostate cancer in dogs is sparse to non-existent. Looking over the literature, it appears as if these products would be safe and perhaps could a positive effect, but no one knows for sure.

If you are interested in herbal treatments, I recommend you make an appointment with a veterinarian who specializes in holistic medicine. Every case is unique, so a doctor who could examine your dog and talk to you at length about his needs is in the best position to make specific recommendations. Holistic practitioners try to combine the best that Western and complementary medicine have to offer. It would also be worth considering giving your dog the drugs mitoxantrone and piroxicam if a biopsy indicated that a transitional cell carcinoma was involved.

Best of luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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