As is the case in man, both dogs and cats have a prostate gland. This gland is located above the urethra in the pelvic region of all males. The prostate produces a viscous fluid that carries the sperm directly into the urethra during ejaculation. As your pet ages it is not unusual to see an enlargement of this gland. This may result in some problems during urination.
When there is inflammation of the prostate gland you may see some blood in the urine, dribbling from the penis and straining to urinate as clinical signs. On physical exam a glove is inserted into the rectum and the prostate gland is palpated through the rectal wall above the gland. If it appears nodular, asymmetrical or enlarged on palpation then getting a sample of the gland itself or its contents will be necessary for a diagnosis. Radiographs and ultrasound are helpful tools to make the diagnosis.
In most cases of prostate disease the cause is either due to an abscess, cyst or tumor. A culture will identify an infection while cytology will be suggestive of either a cyst or a tumor. A biopsy is the only reliable way to confirm the presence of a tumor. There is also another possibility that is common in old dogs and that is an enlargement of the gland due to the influence of the male hormone (benign hypertrophy).
In each case the treatment is based on the underlying cause. Antibiotics will be needed to treat for an infection, drainage of a cyst will be accomplished by using a needle or surgery, while surgical removal of a tumor and recommended castration is needed for the dog with a growth. In the case of enlargement due to the influence of the male hormone, only castration is necessary and carries with it a good prognosis. Recurrent prostate disease is unfortunately a common problem.