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What is Abdominal Cryptorchid Orchiectomy?

Abdominal cryptorchid orchiectomy is a surgical procedure used to treat cryptorchidism, a condition in which one or both of the testicles do not descend properly. By the time a kitten reaches six months old, both testicles should have descended into the scrotum. Abdominal cryptorchid orchiectomy is used when the testicle(s) has become retained in the abdomen. Although only one testicle may be retained, both testicles are removed to prevent further complications. Purebred cats, particularly Himalayans and Persians, have a higher disposition for developing this condition compared to mixed breeds.

Abdominal Cryptorchid Orchiectomy Procedure in Cats

  1. The cat will first be anesthetized, shaved, and prepped for surgery.
  2. The surgeon will make the initial incision into the midline.
  3. Surgical scissors will be used to remove subcutaneous fat so that the linea alba – connective tissue of the outer abdomen – can be visualized.
  4. The incision site will be held open using forceps while the surgeon makes a careful incision into the abdomen. This incision will be extended using surgical scissors.
  5. The surgeon will then use a spay hook to locate the vas deferens of the testicle.
  6. The spay hook will be used to extract the testicle and the testicular blood supply from the abdomen through the initial incision.
  7. The surgeon will ligate, or cut off, the blood supply to the undescended testicle using cord ties.
  8. The surgeon will remove the testicle from the tied cord and place the tied cord back into the abdomen.
  9. The surgical site will then be sutured with absorbable sutures.
  10. After the undescended testicle has been removed from the abdomen, the surgeon will then complete castration by removing the remaining testicle from the scrotal sac.

Efficacy of Abdominal Cryptorchid Orchiectomy in Cats

Abdominal cryptorchid orchiectomy is curative of the condition, and rarely presents postoperative complications. The prognosis for most kittens undergoing this surgery generally ranges from good to excellent. The prognosis may be more guarded in cats that have suffered from cryptorchidism into adulthood.

Abdominal Cryptorchid Orchiectomy Recovery in Cats

Cats that have undergone abdominal cryptorchid orchiectomy will take longer to recover compared to cats that have received a standard neuter. During the recovery period, cats should rest, not engaging in outdoor activity. Cats will need to wear an Elizabethan cone to avoid irritating the surgical site. Owners should monitor for swelling, pus, or bleeding near the surgical site. If this occurs, owners should contact their trusted veterinary professional immediately.

Cost of Abdominal Cryptorchid Orchiectomy in Cats

The cost of abdominal cryptorchid orchiectomy will vary based on standards of living and additional costs incurred, but typically ranges from $300 to $1,000. The national average cost of abdominal cryptorchid orchiectomy is $600.

Cat Abdominal Cryptorchid Orchiectomy Considerations

Though the surgery is generally very successful, there is a very small chance that complications can occur. Damage to the ureters and abdominal hernia are among the most common postoperative complications. Generally, these complications are considered a rare occurrence.

Abdominal cryptorchid orchiectomy occurring unilaterally is often performed alongside a standard neuter, in which the healthy testicle is also castrated. If the remaining testicle is left in place, there is a chance that the cat can develop testicular cancer later in life as a result of the condition. Cats with the remaining testicle left in place are also more likely to pass the defect down to its offspring. It is not possible to extract the undescended testicle into the scrotal sac.

However, the complications that can arise if the condition is left untreated are typically more severe than postoperative complications. Retained testicles are thirteen times more likely to develop cancer compared to normal testicles. Spermatic cord torsion, in which the spermatic cord becomes twisted, can also occur as a result of cryptorchidism which is left untreated.

Abdominal Cryptorchid Orchiectomy Prevention in Cats

It is difficult to prevent cryptorchidism due to the nature of the condition. Owners should not breed cats that have been diagnosed with or treated for cryptorchidism. If a cat has already produced a litter of kittens in which any of the kittens presented cryptorchidism or other birth defects, the cat should not be bred again in the future.