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My Cat Has Swollen Testicles - Causes and Treatment

 
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. February 5, 2019
My Cat Has Swollen Testicles - Causes and Treatment

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Generally, the testicles of cats go unnoticed due to their small size and location. Both their tail and the pocket of fur which covers their scrotum can keep them relatively well hidden. It can sometimes make it difficult for us to tell whether a cat is neutered. This is why a cat's swollen testicles are usually fairly obvious to see. They will likely not only appear larger, but reddened and maybe even hardened. In this AnimalWised article, we explain the causes if your cat has swollen testicles. We will also look at the various treatments which may be available, depending on said cause.

If you see your cat's testicles are swollen and red, you will need to take them to a specialist veterinarian. They will be able to perform an examination and will be the only ones able to give an accurate diagnosis.

You may also be interested in: Why Does My Dog Have Swollen Testicles?

Orchitis in cats

If our cat has swollen testicles, they may be suffering from orchitis which is an inflammation of the testicles. It is a symptom of a disease or condition rather than a disease in itself. For this reason, it has many causes. Physical trauma is a fairly common cause of orchitis in cats. A wound, bite, irritation or burn can all lead to swollen testes.

A cat might jump over a splintered fence or be knocked over while walking, potential causing injury to the testicles. However, fights with other cats can also be a cause of orchitis. This is most common in cats which are not castrated and which spend time outdoors. This is because fights over territory, females or dominance.

However, there are also underlying causes which may have led to swollen testicles unrelated to external factors such as injury. A case study from 1996 shows a cat which came into a veterinary clinic had necrotic orchitis which they conclude was related to the cat having feline leukemia virus (FeLV) which lead to a case of feline infections peritonitis (FIP)[1]. A similar report in 2001 shows that FIP appears to have caused orchitis in a cat. Feline infectious peritonitis is a response to an underlying case of feline coronavirus[2].

These underlying causes (and others we will discuss further on) mean that you will need to take your cat to the vet immediately.

Symptoms of orchitis in cats

While we will need further tests to achieve an accurate diagnosis, but there is a general rule which can determine if your cat's swollen testicles are due to orchitis or a more serious cause. If your cat has swollen testicles and they feel pain when manipulated, it is likely due to orchitis. You will notice he will lick himself frequently to try to relieve this pain and irritation. We might be able to touch the testicles with care to see if they have hardened, but we will need to be sure not to cause any further pain. With orchitis, you will likely see your cat has incontinence. This will result in him urinating outside of their litter box.

If your cat has something more serious like feline infectious peritonitis, their testicles will not necessarily feel pain. As the cats in the above referenced studies show, they did not experience pain when their testes were manipulated. Effusive FIP results in fluid build up which feels softer to the touch and not hard as with orchitis. However, the difference between the symptoms can be subtle which is why it is so important to have a specialist examine your cat.

My Cat Has Swollen Testicles - Causes and Treatment - Symptoms of orchitis in cats

How to treat orchitis in cats

If the veterinarian confirms that your cat's swollen testicles are due to orchitis, the treatment will include the use of antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. If the cat is accepting of it, application of cold to the scrotum will also help to reduce inflammation. After a case of orchitis, it is possible for the testicles to reduce in size.

As means of prevention, we recommend the following:

  • Sterilization in the form of castration is recommended in cats. This is not only to prevent orchitis, but also to provide various advantages to the cat's health and well-being.
  • Avoid letting the cat going outside, especially if there are other cats in the neighborhood. You will need to weigh up this benefit with the other benefits outdoor cats experience.
  • Control your home environment to reduce opportunity for injury. This includes keeping the cat away from hot surfaces and not leaving irritants unattended.
  • If we discover any lesions on our cat's scrotum, take them to the vet immediately.

Cat with swollen and red testicles due to dermatitis

In addition to orchitis, a cat might have swollen and red testicles thanks to coming in contact with an irritating substance. This results in something known as contact dermatitis. Certain plants, paint, synthetic fibers, cement, medicines, shampoo and many other substances may be the cause of this reaction. In these cases, the cat will be agitated and upset, often scratching with more or less intensity depending on the substance which leads to the skin condition.

At first, the affected skin will appear red. If left untreated, the skin may thicken and darken in shade. We need to look at what causes the reaction to prevent the cat from coming in contact with it again. In addition, the vet will prescribe the appropriate treatment. Said treatment usually consists of corticosteroids in topical form[3]. Finally, trauma to the testicles will need to be treated with anti-inflammatories and will need some time to let the swelling go down.

Testicular inflammation in cats due to tumors

Although it is not common for a cat with swollen testicles to have cancer, neoplasms are a possible cause of testicular inflammation. In these cases, the cancer would usually begin affecting only one of the testicles before spreading to the other. Cancer causes the testicles to become enlarged, but instead of presenting a regular smooth surface, it would be irregular and contain nodules. Other forms of cancer do not change the size of the testicle, but it becomes hardened.

Cancer prevention is another reason sterilization is recommended for cats. It not only completely prevents testicular cancer, but can reduce the risk of other forms of feline cancer as well. Ideally, sterilization should be performed at approximately 5 to 6 months of age, just before they reach sexual maturity.

My Cat Has Swollen Testicles - Causes and Treatment - Testicular inflammation in cats due to tumors

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 My Cat Has Swollen Testicles - Causes and Treatment, we recommend you visit our Reproductive system diseases category.

References

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