What is Testicular Swelling?
This painful inflammation can make urination and defecation very difficult for the cat. Testicular swelling may occur as a one-time response due to trauma to the prostate or testicles, or it may become a chronic issue. This is more common in older males as their hormones begin to shift and testosterone slowly decreases. Blockages or infections caused by waste buildup in the seminal ducts can lead to prostatitis. Veterinary attention is necessary, as infection can spread throughout the body. It is also humane to reduce the extreme pain that can accompany testicular swelling.
When a cat’s immune system reacts to an injury or ailment affecting the scrotal area, the prostate gland can become stressed, leading to fluid retention in the testicles. This often results in one or both testicles swelling to an abnormally large size, and can be very painful for the cat. This occurrence is sometimes referred to as prostatitis. This issue only arises in intact males possessing both a prostate and testicles.
Symptoms of Testicular Swelling in Cats
Symptoms are often outwardly visible and may be accompanied by further internal issues. The more symptoms that are present, the more pain that the cat is possibly experiencing. Rectifying the issue in a prompt manner is required. Symptoms to watch for include:
- Visibly larger testicles
- Pain in the genital area
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Loss of appetite
- Excessive scrotal licking
- Open wound on or around the testicles
- Difficulty moving
Causes of Testicular Swelling in Cats
While testicular swelling can be temporary, many conditions that cause it will not dissipate on their own. Causes are generally local to the scrotal area. Known causes include:
- Abscess from a bite or other traumatic wound
- Bacterial infection
- Viral infection (such as feline leukemia virus or feline immunodeficiency virus)
- Hormonal issues (such as estrogen exposure)
- Allergic reaction (often from fleas)
Diagnosis of Testicular Swelling in Cats
At your veterinary appointment, bring your cat’s full medical history as the veterinarian will need it to assess possible problems in the cat. A full physical examination will be performed including an extensive rectal exam. The vet will have to differentiate between possible conditions by matching symptoms present in the cat to possible health issues. The goal is to identify the exact cause of the swelling to prepare a proper treatment plan.
Urinalysis can shed light on prostatitis if blood, pus, or excess protein is found in the urine. A microscopic urine culture can help identify bacteria if infection is present. Blood work including a complete blood count and a biochemical profile may be useful in identifying possible cases of cancer. X-rays and ultrasounds can confirm and locate tumors or growths in the testicular area. A biopsy of swollen tissue may be collected for a histopathological examination. Antibody testing can be used to discover the presence of infectious organisms.
Treatment of Testicular Swelling in Cats
Appropriate treatment will depend on the cause of swelling. Certain issues are more dangerous to the cat than others. Early detection of testicular swelling can make treatment more effective.
If the cause of the swelling is an open wound, antibiotics can rid the area of bacterial infection. If a general bacterial infection is afflicting the entire scrotum, antibiotics are not always effective, especially if the issue has become chronic. If surgery is required, antibiotics are often prescribed after to prevent infection from developing in the wound site. Prescriptions generally range from on to four weeks’ duration.
Full or Partial Neuter
With many cases of prostatitis, the only permanent solution for testicular swelling and pain is castration. If the testes are diseased, the surgery can become more complicated. Larger incisions may be needed and in some cases the testicles may have fused to skin tissue. General anesthesia is required to perform the surgery.
If a tumor is deemed to be the cause of testicular swelling, surgical removal of the tumor may allow the testicles to remain. This depends on the location, number, and malignancy of tumors present.
Recovery of Testicular Swelling in Cats
While your cat is suffering from prostatitis, ensure it is urinating and defecating regularly. Provide fresh water to the cat to encourage frequent drinking. Feed your cat a high quality, species-appropriate diet free of fillers and chemicals. Your vet may recommend supplements that boost the strength of the immune system to your cat’s diet. Limit play and exercise, as this can exacerbate the swelling.
If the cat has undergone surgery, at home-care will be required. Ensure the cat does not lick or bite its incision site. An Elizabethan collar may be necessary to achieve this. Monitor the incision for any signs of infection.
The prognosis for cats who have testicular swelling is overall very good, provided they survive castration and do not have a virus such as feline leukemia virus or feline immunodeficiency virus. These viruses are permanent and generally untreatable. Keeping your cat indoors may be the best way to prevent wounds from cat fights or exposure to viral infections.