As puppies and kittens develop in the womb, their organs often start out in one place before moving to their final spots. In male puppies and kittens, however, sometimes one or both testicles fail to descend into the scrotum — a condition called “retained testicles” or cryptorchidism.
Cryptorchidism can occur bilaterally (both testicles retained), or only one testicle may be affected. It’s fairly common in dogs, particularly purebred toy and brachycephalic (snub-nosed) breeds. Though the condition is rare in cats, Persians are more often affected than others.
the need to neuter
While cryptorchidism may sound a little scary, it’s actually not that serious. However, although the testicle is not readily seen, it still needs to be removed as part of your pet’s neuter for a
• Retained testicles are about 10 times more likely to develop cancer, and when they’re hidden inside your pet’s body, you’ll never even suspect it.
• Retained testicles are apt to torse, or twist, on their own blood supply, which leads to severe abdominal pain and can end in death.
• Cryptorchidism is inherited, meaning that your dog stands a very good chance of passing his condition on if he has any offspring.
down and out
When it comes to removing both the retained and the descended testicle, things can get a little tricky, since your vet may not know where the retained testicle is! He or she will know on which side of your pet to look, and it’s possible the testicle can be felt if it’s in the groin area. But it’s just as likely to be somewhere in the abdomen, which means your vet will have to hunt for it.
For this reason, you can expect your pet to have more than one incision when he comes home from his neuter. Cryptorchid neuters also cost a little more than typical neuters, in part due to the additional time and expertise it takes to remove both testicles.
The good news is, once the procedure is done, you — and your pet — will never know the difference!