What is Cryptorchid Neuter?
Cryptorchidism is a condition in which the testicles of a dog fail to properly descend from the abdomen into the scrotum. This can happen to one or both of the testicles, however, three out of four times it happens to only one. The right testicle is retained more often than the left. Sometimes the affected testicle remains deep within the abdominal cavity while in others, it lays just beneath the skin.
Cryptorchidism can generally be diagnosed if one or both of the testicles have not descended to the scrotum by the time the dog is six months of age. This can usually be seen by looking at the scrotal area. Pain only results from this issue if further complications have already developed. Even before these problems exist, it is often recommended to remove the undescended testicle(s) to safeguard the dog. Most veterinarians are able to perform this procedure, as it is a variation on a standard neuter.
Cryptorchid Neuter Procedure in Dogs
To confirm a diagnosis of cryptorchidism, an ultrasound can be used to locate both testes in the dog. Once they have both been found, a plan can be made to surgically excise them. Full blood work will need to be run to determine whether the dog will withstand the use of general anesthesia or not. Before the operation is actually performed, the dog will need to fast for several hours.
To begin the procedure, a sedative will be administered to the dog. An intravenous catheter will be placed and general anesthesia can be given. A ventilator will likely be used to facilitate breathing. The dog's heart will need to be monitored using an EKG. If only one testicle is being removed, one incision can be made. If both testicles are being removed but are located in the inguinal canal, two incisions will be needed. If both testicles are retained in the abdomen, only one incision is necessary. After the testicles have been carefully cut out using a scalpel, the incision(s) may be closed using sutures.
Efficacy of Cryptorchid Neuter in Dogs
The surgical removal of the testicles is a permanent procedure. This effectively reduces all risk of testicular cancer, as the parts in question are no longer in the dog. If the neuter is performed early in the dog's life, the prognosis for the animal is excellent. Even in older dogs, those who undergo the surgery tend to fare better than those who don't. A cryptorchid neuter can be performed laparoscopically, which reduces both pain and recovery time. It is surgically possible to bring the testicle down into the scrotum instead of excising it, however this increases the likelihood of cancer development by up to 13 times.
Cryptorchid Neuter Recovery in Dogs
The dog should be closely monitored as it awakens from the anesthesia. Its temperature will also need to be watched both during and after the operation. Pain medication can be given as soon as the animal regains consciousness. Antibiotics are generally only prescribed if infection begins to develop in the surgical wound.
Upon discharge, all stimulation and activities should be decreased for the duration of the healing period. Food portions may be slowly increased until regular amounts are being given. The dog should begin having regular bowel movements one or two days after surgery. To keep the incision clean, an Elizabethan collar can be used to prevent the animal from licking the area. A follow-up appointment is needed two weeks after the operation. If the dog has been diagnosed with cancer, a treatment plan may be created at this time.
Cost of Cryptorchid Neuter in Dogs
Depending on the veterinarian that is used, some only charge an additional $100 onto the cost of a regular neuter. If diagnostic imaging is needed, or if the testicles are deep in the abdomen, the price tends to be higher. A cryptorchid neuter may cost up to $800 in large breeds or complicated scenarios.
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Dog Cryptorchid Neuter Considerations
As with all neuter surgeries, using general anesthesia exposes the dog to serious risks. The vast majority of dogs do not experience complications related to sedation. While cryptorchid neuters are not often needed, the procedure to excise the testicles is very similar to a regular neuter. The risk of cancer or cord torsion is greatly reduced by this surgery. Care should be taken to ensure the prostate is not accidentally removed along with the testicles. In some cases, damage is done to the ureters, leading to more health issues. Surgical approach through the groin is thought to be the safest method.
Cryptorchid Neuter Prevention in Dogs
Cryptorchidism is generally an inherited problem. Purebred dogs are more often affected than mixed breeds. Toy sized breeds experience this condition more than larger sized of dogs. Miniature Poodles, Chihuahuas, Pomeranians and Yorkshire Terriers all are susceptible breeds.
If both testicles are retained, the dog is unlikely to be fertile, however of one has descended, it is possible for the dog to procreate. This should be prevented to stop the defective gene from passing to other dogs. When obtaining a dog, always enquire about the family's health history. If the dog is a rescue animal, a simple blood test can be run to determine if it has been neutered or if the testicles never dropped to the scrotum.