This paper is a cross-sectional study of spontaneous benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in a single canine species. The effects of aging and hormonal changes on the growth, histology, and glandular secretory function of the canine prostate were studied in 42 male beagles ranging in age from 8 mo to 9 yr. The beagle prostate enlarges for at least 6 yr, whether normal or hyperplastic. In contrast, prostatic secretory function, determined by ejaculate volume and total ejaculate protein, declines markedly after 4 yr of age. These reciprocal growth and functional changes in the prostate are closely associated with a progressive increase in the incidence of BPH, which is already apparent in some dogs by age two. With age there is a modest decrease in serum androgen levels with no apparent change in serum 17β-estradiol levels. This suggests that the growth and functional changes that are associated with the development of BPH and are initiated very early in life reflect an altered sensitivity of the prostate to serum androgens or a response to the relative decrease in the serum androgen to estrogen ratio.
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