Hereditary diseases

Canine Cryptorchidism

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: May 1, 2018
Canine Cryptorchidism

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If you've decided to welcome a dog into your home, you should know that this beautiful act requires a firm commitment from the owner, since you must be able to meet all of your pet's needs throughout its life.

When talk about the physical health of a dog, we generally think that the possible pathological disorders are likely to appear as our pet gets older, but this doesn't happen in every case.

In this article we will talk about the treatment for canine cryptorchidism, a health problem that may become apparent a few weeks after its birth, since it is a disorder of your pet's sex development.

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  1. What is canine cryptorchidism?
  2. Why does canine cryptorchidism occur?
  3. Symptoms of canine cryptorchidism
  4. Treatment of canine cryptorchidism
  5. Prevention of canine cryptorchidism

What is canine cryptorchidism?

Canine cryptorchidism is an alteration in sexual development of male dogs, and it affects approximately 13% of them. It is not possible for this disease to affect females. Cryptorchidism is the absence of one or more testicles in the scrotal sac as a result of not having descended; they normally do so at 8 weeks old.

In a dog with normal sexual development, the testicles descend from their original position (behind the kidneys) to the inguinal canal at birth, and subsequently pass through the inguinal canal to reach the proper position in the scrotal sac. In a dog that suffers from cryptorchidism, the testicles do not complete this descent.

This disorder may affect only one testicle or both. Undescended testicles can be found in different anatomical cavities, so you can distinguish different types of cryptorchidism depending on that factor:

  • Unilateral cryptorchidism: One testicle is in the scrotum and the other is not.
  • Bilateral cryptorchidism: Neither testicle is located in the scrotal sac.
  • Inguinal cryptorchidism: One or both testicles are found in the inguinal canal.
  • Abdominal cryptorchidism: One or both testicles are in the abdomen.

The diagnosis of this disease is simply performed by palpation, with it being definitive from six months on.

Canine Cryptorchidism - What is canine cryptorchidism?

Why does canine cryptorchidism occur?

The cause of canine cryptorchidism is still not fully known, but it is believed that genetics are very important; this is an hereditary disease that can be transmitted by both female and male dogs.

Due to the genetic factor, we can identify some breeds which are predisposed to suffering from this disorder:

Canine Cryptorchidism - Why does canine cryptorchidism occur?

Symptoms of canine cryptorchidism

Canine cryptorchidism doesn't show any symptoms in the animal, although you must bear in mind that undescended testicles inside the body can reach a high temperature, which means that tumors can easily be developed. They are especially evident if found in the groin or inguinal canal.

A testicle affected by a tumor will secrete high amounts of feminine hormones resulting in dog feminisation syndrome, which will cause it to adopt typical characteristics of a female. These can be easily observed:

  • The penis shrinks and it decreases in size
  • Breasts develop
  • It adopts the urinating position of a female dog

From 4 years old on, there is an increased risk of undescended testicles forming a tumor.

Canine Cryptorchidism - Symptoms of canine cryptorchidism

Treatment of canine cryptorchidism

The treatment of canine cryptorchidism is surgical and consists of removing the undescended testicles.

If you are dealing with an abdominal cryptorchidism, a midline laparotomy will be performed; this procedure involves opening the abdominal walls. However, if cryptorchidism is inguinal, the testicle to be removed is located externally and a surface incision is made.

Canine Cryptorchidism - Treatment of canine cryptorchidism

Prevention of canine cryptorchidism

Canine cryptorchidism can only be prevented by the proper selection of parents for reproduction; a dog suffering from this condition cannot be used for reproduction. Even by choosing cryptorchidism-free parents, this does not 100% guarantee that the offspring won't suffer from this disorder.

Canine Cryptorchidism - Prevention of canine cryptorchidism

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Canine Cryptorchidism, we recommend you visit our Hereditary diseases category.

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Question: If it is considered a genetic problem and therefore not wise to breed from a dog with cryptorchidism, would that dogs litter sisters be OK to breed from or could they have and carry this gene to their potential offspring?
Administrador AnimalWised
Hello Linda,

You should never breed dogs from the same litter, regardless of their physical health.
Sally Wilson
Comprehensive informative article. Thankyou
Administrador AnimalWised
H Sally,

What a great picture, they are adorable! What is their name?
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Canine Cryptorchidism