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What are Retained Testicles?

If your dog does not have two visible testicles by the second month after birth, you need to have your veterinarian check for cryptorchidism, or retained testes. While many owners think having retained testes is not a big deal and just ignore it, this can put your dog at a much higher risk of getting testicular torsion or cancer. Both of these illnesses are extremely painful and can be fatal. Cancer of the testicles is the second most often reported cancer in dogs overall and about 12 times more common in dogs with retained testes. This cancer causes severe pain in the abdomen, weight loss, and the shutting down of the internal organs. Testicular torsion is usually rare, but with the testes floating around unattached in the abdomen it is much more common and a life-threatening emergency. It occurs when the testicle twists itself up and cuts off the circulation to that testicle. Extreme pain and infection are imminent and emergency surgery to remove the testicles will have to be done immediately to save your dog.

Retained testes happen when the tube that connects the testicle to the scrotum does not form correctly, the testicle will not be able to drop down into the scrotal area as it should. It is actually fairly common in dogs, although unilateral cryptorchidism is the most common. There are two types; unilateral, which means only one testicle has descended, and bilateral, which means neither testicle drops into place in the scrotum. In unilateral cryptorchidism it is the left testicle that descends in most cases. Those with bilateral cryptorchidism are almost always sterile because it is too hot inside the abdomen for sperm to live.

When one or both of a dog’s testes do not drop down into the scrotal area, this is called cryptorchidism, which is also called undescended or retained testes. There are two types of retained testes, which are unilateral (only one testicle drops down) or bilateral (both testes do not drop down). By the eighth week of a dog’s life their testicles should have both fallen into place in the scrotal area behind the kidneys. If one or both testicles do not drop into the scrotum, this can cause more than just cosmetic issues. It can also affect the health of the dog by increasing the risk of cancer or testicular torsion. A dog with retained testes will almost always be sterile, but it is still essential to get your dog neutered to prevent cancer or torsion.

Retained Testicles Average Cost

From 72 quotes ranging from $400 - $2,500

Average Cost

$1,000

Symptoms of Retained Testicles in Dogs

The most obvious sign that your dog has retained testes is if your dog has only one testicle or none at all. Even if you do not notice this, your veterinarian will catch the problem at your puppy’s first examination. That is why it is so important to take your puppy to the veterinarian between six and eight weeks of age for the first check-up. Sometimes the dog can be mistaken for a female and the owner does not notice any problems until cancer or testicular torsion occurs. The signs of these are:

  • Extreme abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Mass in the abdominal area

 Types

Unilateral Cryptorchidism

  • This happens when your dog only has one testicle that drops down into the scrotal area
  • The other testicle is either in the abdomen or the inguinal canal

Bilateral Cryptorchidism

  • This is when neither testicle drops into place in the scrotum
  • This is not as common as unilateral cryptorchidism.
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Causes of Retained Testicles in Dogs

While this is not uncommon in any dog, it is more common in certain breeds, which are:

  • Chihuahuas
  • Dachshunds
  • French Poodles
  • German Shepherds
  • Miniature Schnauzers
  • Pomeranians
  • Shetland Sheepdogs
  • Siberian Huskies
  • Yorkshire Terriers
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Diagnosis of Retained Testicles in Dogs

Although this condition should be noticed by the veterinarian at your puppy’s first examination between six and eight weeks, sometimes it may go unnoticed until a later age. A good example of this is if you get your dog when it is older and the first owner did not get the puppy checked by a veterinarian or if your male dog was mistaken for a female because it has bilateral cryptorchidism. Either way, provide the veterinarian with as much information about your dog’s history as you have. This should include medical records, vaccinations, illnesses or injuries, changes in behavior or appetite, and any symptoms you have noticed.

Your veterinarian will then do a physical examination of your dog. A complete physical exam will include heart rate, weight, body temperature, and blood pressure. After the examination, the veterinarian will do some tests, including urinalysis, stool sample, semen sample, x-rays, and ultrasound. He may also need to do a CT scan and/or MRI if necessary to see exactly where your dog’s testicle(s) are located.

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Treatment of Retained Testicles in Dogs

The only treatment for both unilateral and bilateral cryptorchidism is surgically neutering your dog. Neutering a dog with retained testes is more complicated than the usual neutering because it involves locating and removing the testes from the inguinal canal or wherever in the abdomen they may be. While this type of surgery has some risks, it is much safer than not having the surgery. Your dog will probably have to stay in the hospital for one or two days and will need rest and relaxation for at least two weeks after that at home.

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Recovery of Retained Testicles in Dogs

After going home, your dog will need to be on limited activity with possible cage rest. The veterinarian may also give you an Elizabethan collar for your dog to wear to keep him from licking at the incision area. Check daily for signs of infection at the incision site. The signs of infection are redness, swelling, bad odor, or any kind of discharge. You will have to bring your dog back within 7-14 days to get the stitches removed and to see if it is healing properly. Be sure to tell your veterinarian any concerns you may have.

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Retained Testicles Average Cost

From 72 quotes ranging from $400 - $2,500

Average Cost

$1,000

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Retained Testicles Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Pitbu

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Eight Months

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Unknown severity

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3 found helpful

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Testes Didnt Drop Yet

My dog is about to be 8 months and his testicles havent dropped yet. He hasnt shown any signs of paint or inflammation.

July 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Some dogs are born as what we called cryptorchid dogs, where their testicles do not descend into the scrotum normally. By 8 months old, if they were going to defend, they probably would by now. It would be best to talk to your veterinarian about having him neutered, as those undescended testicles can become cancerous over time and we always recommend neutering in those dogs. I hope it all goes well for him.

July 28, 2020

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No name

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English Bulldog

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11 Weeks

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Fair severity

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No Symptom

An 11 week old English Bulldog puppy that I am interested in purchasing was initially diagnosed with no palpable testies (at 8 weeks), then one testicle was noted on xray in the abdomen (at 10 weeks) and now at 11 weeks both testicles are palpable in the abdomen. I want to be able to show and breed this dog. The breeder thinks that both testicles will eventually descend on their own. Is this realistic? If they do drop, is there a higher chance of him passing this condition onto his male offspring? Both parents are platimun health certified and from reputable breeders.

Aug. 15, 2018

No name's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Retained testicles is an inherited condition, and affected dogs should not be bred. It is possible that both testicles will drop, but it is possible that they won't. Whether you decide to purchase this dog is up to you, but you would need to do so with the possibility that he will need to be neutered.

Aug. 15, 2018

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Pluto

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Golden Retriever

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4 Months

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Mild severity

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2 found helpful

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Mild severity

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Only Right Side Testicle Is Visible

I've a Golden retriever male puppy having 4 months 12 days. Unfortunate thing is I'm getting only one testicle (Right) now. My vet Doctor said to wait another month. Is there any time limit by which I can confirmed whether my dog is Unilateral and there is no chance to descend the other one. And if he is unilateral then what will be the physical problems can occur in future. For unilateral, will they go for mating?

Aug. 6, 2018

Pluto's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Testicles can sometimes take a few months to descend, and we typically wait until 6-9 months before saying for sure that a dog is cryptorchid. If Pluto is indeed cryptorchid, he should not be bred, as this is a hereditary condition. He will need to be neutered, and that surgery will be a little more complicated, depending on the location of the testicle.

Aug. 6, 2018

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Oliver

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Golden Retriever

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1 Day

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

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Bleeding From Void In Incision.

I have a 1 year old Golden Retriever who had bilateral cryptorchidism. He was neutered 5 days ago. He was at home after 2 days, getting around slowly but doing well. He had seeping from the posterior area of the incision from day one stopped on day four. On day 5, he began bleeding from the anterior area, which had a small ( approx. 4-6 mm) open area. This void was present from day one. I compressed it gently and when he got up, a 1 " piece of tissue emerged. I promptly took him to a university vet hospital. The doctor said it looked like fatty tissue and not intestine but concerned about infection as he is herniated. I am awaiting word from the emergency surgery. How common is this after neutering? What could be the causes? Thank you.

July 15, 2018

Oliver's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Without knowing more about Oliver, I have a hard time answering that question.... was the incision abdominal, or inguinal? There is fat that exists between the skin and body wall, and this may not be a hernia, it may be a skin opening. If he had to have an exploratory surgery because his incision opened completely, that does happen occasionally, though not commonly. Since I do not know the details around his situation, it would be best to have this discussion with the veterinarian who is taking care of him now, as they know the details of his surgery and can give you more accurate answers.

July 15, 2018

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Bentley

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Italian Greyhound

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5 Years

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Fair severity

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None None

I have the Italian greyhound with one of his testicles retaining under between skin and ribs in the middle His is 5 and healthy No troubles Thanks God ! I heard already about testicles removing ??!! I wonder if it is a human are you also treated him this way or here are some other options ?? Do you really now how to cure without harm? If it is your son what you would do ?

July 2, 2018

Bentley's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

In human medicine, they may attempt hormonal treatment to encourage the testicle to descend but generally surgical reposition is used if a testicle doesn’t descend. In veterinary medicine, surgical removal is treatment of choice to remove from the gene pool and to prevent against testicular tumours as cryptorchid dogs are at a much higher risk of cancer. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=undescended-testes-cryptorchidism-90-P03081

July 2, 2018

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Jangee

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German Shepherd

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9 Months

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Fair severity

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None

Today I notice that my GSD boy had undescended testicals........both testicals aren't dropped.......he is 8.5 mths gsd with 34 kg weight.........healthy and playpul.......non aggresive...........so what should i do?........should i neutered him or just leave it...........if i leave him then it will be normal......can he live healthy for 10 years.........or i should neutered him asap...........

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Champ

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Chitzhu

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8 Months

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Fair severity

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Fair

I have the chitzhu with one of his testicles retaining under between skin and abdomen in the middle and he is healthy No troubles so far and he is very naughty and active by Gods grace ! I heard already about testicles removing ??!! I wonder if it is a human are you also treated him this way or here are some other options ?? Do you really now how to cure without harm? If it is your son what you would do ? and he cannot bear the pain and please advise us what to do next.

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Ralph

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dobermann

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6 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

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Visible For A Very Short Time

I have a 6 year old rescue Doberman,I got him as a 15month old abuse case. He is incredibly loyal and a cuddle monster, but I noticed recently that he has 2 retained testicles.He has always been reactive but has improved greatly. Unfortunately he has quite advanced wobbler as has my other rescue dog.Because of this I am loathe to put him through any surgery especially as he cannot cope away from me.As he has reached his age with no obvious signs of cancer , how high is his risk of any related problems? The testicles only appear for a short time and there is no sack. I only noticed this a few months ago because they are only down for a matter of seconds?

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Walter

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Small Mixed

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19 Months

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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None

Walter is a 19 month old mixed breed about 15 pounds. He is very active and a happy boy, No problems. However, he has 1 testicle that remains in place and the other one which seems smaller goes back inside his abdomen.When he was younger both testicle were present in the scrotum sac. Months later one seemed to go back inside, Could this be from an injury ? We can move it back to the scrotum by gently moving a finger down the side of his abdomen near his penis.Is this situation possibly going to cause him problems?He runs and plays and seems to have no health issues. We do not intend to breed him. thank you for any advice you may provide.

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Buddy

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Lassapoo

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Four Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

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No Sym

I have a three year old lassapoo with two retained testicles they are just at the bottom of his penis on each side not very big you can feel them really well and are visible they don’t seem to bother him at all is it really important to have them removed my vet does not seem very Concerned about them Buddy loves to play and is very happy and content

Retained Testicles Average Cost

From 72 quotes ranging from $400 - $2,500

Average Cost

$1,000