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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.

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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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Pluto

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Golden Retriever

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4 Months

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Mild severity

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5 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

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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5 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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2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

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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2 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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3 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

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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3 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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Lincoln

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Boxer

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17 Months

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Overheating

I recently took on a 17 month boxer male .He was fine for first 8 wks then he just collapsed when out for a walk .I took him to a vet they said he might have sudden death syndrome but paid for a heart scan heart and valves fine then noticed only 1 testicle .when walking him now he has lack of breath and panting and is hot to the touch could the retained testicle cause these symptoms

June 2, 2018

Lincoln's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

A retained testicle would not cause any of these symptoms, but overheating might. I'm not sure what temperature it is where you live, but some boxers don't tolerate heat, and walks outside might not be a good idea for him. Without examining Lincoln, I can't say if this is a problem, but it would be a good idea to ask your veterinarian if that might have anything to do with his signs.

June 2, 2018

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Blue

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Siberian Husky

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2 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Unilateral Cryptorchidism

My dog, Blue, has one of his testes still inside (Unilateral Cryptorchidism). He is 2 years old. We don't want to operate him, fearing it might change his temperament and the way he behaves. I want to know how likely it is for him to actually develop cancer from this condition, and if it is true that his temperament and behavior could change after having his testicles removed.

May 29, 2018

Blue's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Dogs with a cryptorchid testicle are around 13 times more likely to develop testicular cancer (in the cryptorchid testicle) than dogs with two fully descended testicles (which are not neutered). Castration has some effect on behaviour, but normally just controls aggression and doesn’t affect a dog’s overall personality. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/vmth/local_resources/pdfs/repro_pdfs/ceCryptorchidism2.pdf

May 30, 2018

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Tucker

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Poodle

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8 Months

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Depression
Swollen Abdomen
Stiffness
Limping
Loss Of Appetite
Bruise

My 8 month old Poodle/Leonberger was neutered recently and both testicles had not descended. The vet could not feel them before the surgery and no ultrasound was done. Tucker had to stay two extra nights with IV fluids because the surgery was so invasive. The vet said the surgery was 3.5 hours long. He also said he could not find one of the testicles but he found the cord/blood vessel (?) to the testicle so it will not grow and become cancerous. The cord led down my dogs leg so the vet ended up digging around the inside of Tucker's leg. Tucker is now limping and refuses to put any weight on that foot. He also seems severely depressed. The vet has checked up on him and has said to give it time. Does this sound okay? Should I get a different opinion? P.S. There was dark purple bruising all the way from his scrotum area to his lower chest.

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Astro

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Great Dane

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6 Months

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Urinating In House

Still in the process of correcting an issue, but wondering if the issues could be related. Just noticed that my 6 month old Great Dane has only 1 descended testicle. He's been having urinary tract infections and finally had a culture to more aggressively attack the correct bacteria. Basically, he leaks, mostly noticeable when he lays down for a while and ends up with a small pool of urine when he gets up. Just curious if the two issues could be connected and, if possible, having him neutered might resolve both issues. He was marked by his momma at birth. She aggressively removed his birth sack and opened him up on the side, just above his kidneys. The vet couldn't do anything to a 1 day old puppy, so they just let it heal on it's own, suggesting it was bad but just superficial. Blood tests revealed no organ issues, just infection. Am on 2nd vet and both are suggesting to see specialist.

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Drax

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Labrador border collie mix

dog-age-icon

8 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Licking At Genitals
Cryptorchidism
Missing Scrotal Tissue

We have a lab/border collie puppy that we adopted at the age of 4 months already neutered. He has a small scar on his lower groin where his scrotum should be, but there is no scrotal tissue. He is now almost 8 months old and my husband and I are seeing what looks like testicles under his skin on both sides of his abdomen. He licks and gnaws at his whole groin area and jerks like he's itching really badly. I can't find anything on the internet about what happens if a pup is neutered too early and then his his testicles drop with nowhere to go...

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Ricki J

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Standard Poodle

dog-age-icon

9 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

I have a neutered standard poodle 9 yrs old .Since the operation my dog has always pumped him self and seems to have a hard vtime walking and urinating, sometimes goes for 14 to 16 hrs not able to urinate . Recentely I found 2 golf ball size balls on each side of his penis,under the skin. could this be his balls , and the vet made a mistake , you cannot feel them all the time .

Retained Testicles Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$1,000

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