What are Epididymitis and Orchitis?
Orchitis is inflammation of one of both of the testicles. Epididymitis is inflammation of the testicular tube where sperm is stored. Both conditions can be very serious and need to be addressed properly. Symptoms can be mild, such as scrotal dermatitis from licking, or can be severe such as intense swelling and abnormal growths. Unfortunately, prognosis of a full recovery is poor; however if caught early enough, you can neuter your dog and avoid many of the complications.
Orchitis and epididymitis are both serious conditions that can develop in your dog. If you suspect your dog is having an issue related to his urinary system or reproductive system, take him to a veterinarian as soon as you can.
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Symptoms of Epididymitis and Orchitis in Dogs
Symptoms your dog may experience include:
- Swelling of the testes
- Swelling of the scrotum
- Swelling of the epididymides
- Lesions in the scrotal skin
- Abnormal masses in the scrotum
- Scrotal dermatitis from your dog licking himself
Symptoms may develop slowly and start as one symptom at a time, or swelling may develop and progress suddenly.
The types of epididymitis and orchitis can include noninflammatory cases. These may be caused by an infectious agent, excessive pressure, extreme temperatures, hormonal causes and cytotoxic agents. Overall, no matter the type, the same body regions are negatively affected.
Causes of Epididymitis and Orchitis in Dogs
Causes of epididymitis and orchitis can be caused by trauma, infection or torsion. The infection can be caused by a fungal agent, bacteria, or virus. The infection can originate in the blood or in the urine itself. Other possible causes can include immune mediated conditions, neoplasia, spermatocele or granuloma formation.
Diagnosis of Epididymitis and Orchitis in Dogs
When the veterinarian is performing her physical exam, she will carefully palpate the scrotum to see which structures are affected. If there is swelling, palpation may not be possible. If this occurs, the veterinarian may need to sedate your dog and ultrasound his scrotum to better evaluate what structures are involved. She may want to take radiographs for an additional view of the scrotum and to ensure nothing else is going on.
Blood work will be performed to give the veterinarian a look at how the internal organs are functioning and to rule out other possible causes of his symptoms. A complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry panel will provide the veterinarian with needed information. In addition , a packed cell volume (PCV) may also be performed to determine hydration status.
A rule out test should be included in the veterinarian’s diagnostic process. Testing for Brucella canis infection needs to be performed to rule it out as a cause of your dog’s symptoms. Semen will need to be collected and examined with a bacterial and mycoplasmal culture. If your dog is experiencing pain and swelling, collection may prove to be difficult so other methods may be considered.
Treatment of Epididymitis and Orchitis in Dogs
Unless the underlying cause can be determined, treatment of these conditions in dogs can be difficult. You dog may lose his ability to reproduce due to the effect on his fertility. Even with aggressive therapies and treatments, prognosis is guarded. The damage that can be done to his reproduction system can be irreversible.
Your dog may be started on antibiotics and or antifungals to combat the infection. Additional culture and sensitivity tests are suggested to refine the medication selection choice.
Other forms of treatment may be offered depending on your dog’s needs. He may be kept for observation or may need to be kept alone in order to ensure the infection does not transfer to other animals.
Recovery of Epididymitis and Orchitis in Dogs
Prognosis of a full recovery for your dog is poor. No matter how aggressive you try to treat it, if it is a chronic condition or ascending infection, it may lead to incurable prostatitis. If you catch the condition early enough and neuter your dog, you may be able to avoid some of the more serious complications.
As soon as you notice something abnormal going on with your dog, take him to his veterinarian. It is better to be on the safe side and get him checked out. You know your dog better than anyone else, you will be the one to know if his behavior is indicating a possible problem.
Epididymitis and Orchitis Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
I have a 6 month old Bernadoodle. Bathed him yesterday after a walk in rain where he rollled on a dear goose. Today he is licking himself excessively and we noticed a mass. My husband says it is his testicles. But they weren’t there yesterday! It’s sunday, can’t get to vet until tomorrow. Any ideas?
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I have a male Japanese Akita who is 6 years old he suffers from sore red testicles and then scabs over always every year in the months of April to May/June. We have took him to the vets last year and year before and they gave him a steroid cream to apply however he wouldn't let me apply the cream always and it didn't work when I did apply it as he was very uncomfortable. When the pain is bad he stops eating he cannot lay down and always sits on his back legs. We have took him to the vets many times but nothing heals him he hasn't had any antibiotics prescribed. I don't want to get him neutered but not sure what I can do to help him. Please could you give advice on suggestions apart from taking him to the vets...
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