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Cryptorchidism: Hidden testicles in the dog


If the testicles are not yet in an eight-week-old puppy are palpable in the scrotum, then there is a cryptorchidism. You can find out what the disease is and what consequences a lack of testicular descent has for the dog here. Small dog breeds like Jack Russell Terrier in particular are affected by cryptorchidism - Image: Shutterstock / Kira_Ya

The testicles of the dog are not always in the scrotum. At the time of birth, these are initially in the abdominal cavity, between the kidney and inguinal ring. Only then does the so-called testicular descent follow. However, if this is not the case, then one speaks of a cryptorchidism.

What is dog cryptorchidism?

The term cryptorchidism comes from the Greek and means something like "hidden testicles". The disease occurs when either one or two testicles have not descended from the abdominal cavity and cannot be felt in the scrotum. Cryptorchidism can occur on both sides.

As a rule, the testicles descend in dogs about ten to 14 days after their birth. Both testicles are then in the scrotum. Delays up to the age of eight weeks are not uncommon and not a bad thing. However, if the male's testicles are still not in the scrotum after this period, this can have health and breeding consequences for the dog.

Causes of dog cryptorchidism

A lack of testicular descent can affect any male. However, small breeds are particularly susceptible to the disease. The cause may be due to the dog's anatomy. For example, a testicle that is too large or a narrow inguinal canal can cause cryptorchidism. It has also been proven that this is a congenital, hereditary disease.

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Cryptorchidism in dogs: what are the consequences?

Hidden testicles in dogs are not just a flaw, they also have health consequences for the animal. For example, the unsacked testicles in the abdominal cavity are exposed to a higher temperature, which means that no sperm can form.

Dogs with bilateral cryptorchidism are therefore almost without exception sterile. On the other hand, male cryptorchid males are fertile, nevertheless they should not be used for breeding due to the inheritance of their disease. Aside from infertility, dogs with cryptorchidism are at higher risk of developing testicular cancer.

Treatment of hidden testicles

Hormone therapy can provoke the descent of the testicles in puppies up to about the sixth month of life. However, if this does not succeed or if the animal is older, an operation is scheduled in which the testicles are removed surgically. This reduces the risk of cancer.


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