Although the prostate is part of the male reproductive system, responsible for producing the nutritional fluid for semen, some prostate problems are so intimately related to the urinary tract they are explained here. A dog's prostate naturally increases in size, usually reaching its maximum between six and ten years of age. As it swells it presses on and compresses the rectum. Affected pets pass thin stools. Natural prostate enlargement rarely affects the workings of the urinary tract.
Infection usually begins in the lower urinary tract and moves up into the prostate gland. The gland swells causing discomfort. Some affected dogs walk with a tucked-up belly. In severe instances there is accompanying fever and lethargy. Some dogs vomit. Urinating is painful. In other instances, signs are much milder and infection, left untreated becomes chronic leading to sterility. Abscesses can develop in the prostate acting as a source of re-infection of the urinary tract.
A rectal examination reveals an enlarged and usually tender prostate. Blood and pus is seen in the urine, either grossly or under the microscope. Ultrasound examination reveals the presence of abscesses or cysts. Large abscesses are particularly difficult to treat and may require sophisticated surgical treatment. A culture and sensitivity helps select an appropriate antibiotic that is given for at least three weeks. Antibiotics continue until at least a week after urine examination reveals no further signs of infection. Antiandrogen drugs or castration play a vital role in treatment and prevention of recurrance of infection.