Canine Cryptorchidism

“Crypto” means “hidden” in Greek. A dog with cryptorchidism (cryptorchid) has testicles that are not in the scrotal sack. A dog can be suspected of cryptorchidism if a male puppy’s testicles have not descended to the scrotal sac by his 18th week. However, some veterinarians say that puppies have to reach puberty (6 months) before the condition is confirmed.

One kind of cryptorchidism is the unilateral cryptorchidism. This is a condition where one testicle is located in the scrotal sac. The other testicle is usually located in the abdominal area, where testicular formation usually begins. In the other kind of cryptorchidism, bilateral cryptorchidism, the two testicles aren’t present in the scrotal sac.

Cryptorchidism is a genetic disorder. If the male pup’s dad went through cryptorchidism, chances are it will happen to him too. There are also some breeds that are more likely to develop cryptorchidism more than other breeds. Breeds that are most likely to be affected are miniature schnauzer, Pomeranian, French poodle, Yorkshire terrier, Chihuahua, dachshunds, and even German shepherds. Male dogs with cryptorchidism look strange but the condition also has health implications that go beyond the appearance. Breeders should be careful not to use male dogs with cryptorchidism for breeding because affected dogs are prone to testicular cancer and testicular torsion. Both conditions are very painful and deadly.

No medication will treat cryptorchidism. If a male dog is diagnosed of cryptorchidism, the testicles must be removed already. Surgical removal should be administered right away, whether the cryptorchidism is unilateral or bilateral. The cryptorchid testicle (undescended testicle) has to be taken out to prevent testicular cancer and torsion. The normal testicle has  to be removed as well to prevent the male dog from producing an offspring with cryptorchidism.

Surgery for cryptorchidism is not a minor surgery in any way. Although some dogs get to go home one day after the surgery, some surgical procedures may take a while because it can take long to locate the undescended testicle.

Both the owner and the dog have to be prepared before surgery. If the veterinarian says that the dog has to stay in the hospital or clinic for several days, the owner has to prepare the dog’s essentials: medication, food, collar, leash, poop bag, dog poop pick up, etc. The clinic may have these essentials but the owners should bring their own just in case.

The surgery is very invasive so it requires a healing period of two weeks. During this time, the dog is nto allowed to move around a lot. The dog should wear a dog cone during the recovery period to prevent the dog from licking the healing wound. The owner should check the wound for infection and swelling every now and then. Of course, the dog has to take the prescribed antibiotics. After two weeks, the owner should take the dog back to the veterinarian for check-up and further instructions.