Undescended Testicle Dog Surgery

Occurrence of either one undescended testicle or both, called cryptorchidism, in dogs is 10%. Dog testes normally descend by day ten of age. If they do not by age of eight weeks, then it is considered cryptorchidism. This condition can be unilateral, bilateral (causing sterility) and either abdominal or inguinal (or both).

Medical Problems of an Undescended Testicle

Since this condition can cause cancer, normal treatment is castration. Testicular cancer is 13.6 times more likely to occur in dogs with abdominally retained testes than with normal dogs. Most commonly affected dogs are: bulldog, miniature schnauzer, boxer, Yorkshire terrier, maltese, poodle (toy and miniature), whippet, chihuahua, pekingese, dachshund (miniature), pomeranian and Shetland sheepdog.

Cryptorchidism can affect a dog growth due to hormonal or endocrine problems. Dogs with one or more undescended testicles can produce offspring with the same medical condition or can be spontaneously aborted (miscarriage) or stillborn. Most dogs with this condition cannot produce offspring since the temperature of the testes is too warm for viable sperm to be produced.

Testes can be found anywhere along the inguinal canal, between the abdomen and the scrotal sac. Normal migration of the testes occurs soon after birth.

Medical implications resulting from cryptorchism:

  • Testicular torsion (twisted testicle) – the spermatic cord and blood vessels become tightly entwined resulting in the cutoff of blood supply to the testes, which die and rot inside the dog
  • Testicular cancer – can spread to other organs of the body
  • Male feminizing syndrome – some cancer tumors produce large amount of estrogen (female hormones) which cause the dog’s mammary glands to enlarge, behave more like a female and cause certain male organs to dysfunction (prostate)
  • Bone marrow hypoplasia – cell producing bone marrow cells die prematurely resulting in severe deficiency of bone marrow cells
  • Pancytopenia-estrogen toxicity - major deficiency in the number of red and white blood cells and platelets with hypersecretion of androgens (testosterone) due to the excess of estrogen
  • Excessive testosterone production – can make a male more aggressive and affect the prostate adversely
  • Excessive aggression

A deficiency in the number of red blood cells prevents the proper nourishment of body cells while deficiency in the number of white blood cells prevents the body from fighting infections. Lack of blood platelet cells makes the body prone o bruising and hemorrhaging.

Surgery Is Necessary

Surgery can be simple or more complex depending upon where the undescended testicles are located. Castration is far more simple and a less invasive surgery than abdominal surgery. Therefore, the recovery period would be longer.

After surgery, it is important for the dog not to be stressed so a warm, quiet place is best. His bedding should be clean. Keeping him indoors will also keep him free of infections. The use of an Elizabethan collar will prevent him from licking his wounds.

Daily examination of the surgery site should be done for signs of infection, inflammation, discharge and pain. Infections need immediate veterinarian attention and possibly antibiotics. Cleaning the wound with warm water and mild antibacterial soap will prevent most infections. After washing, the wound should be dressed with clean cotton, absorbent cloth, thereby reducing the chance of infection.