Cryptorchidism is the failure of one or even both testicles to descend into the scrotum in males. Testicles should be easily seen and palpated in the scrotum of both dogs and cats by the age of 6 months. If one or both testicles are not present in the scrotum it may be located anywhere along the path testicles should travel during development. In some cases, proper development does not occur and the testicle can stop short of its intended destination. The undescended testicle is frequently smaller than the scrotal testicle but is unable to produce sperm due to the high temperature within the body. If both testicles have not descended the dog or cat is in fact sterile and cannot reproduce.
Roughly 10% of dogs are affected with this condition. Persian cats are in fact predisposed to cryptorchidism despite it being relatively uncommon in cats. Dogs and cats with this defect in development are highly encouraged to be neutered to avoid certain life threatening problems such as torsion and cancer. Testicular cancer is the second most common type of cancer in older dogs; cryptorchid males are ten times more likely to develop testicular cancer compared to normal dogs. Neutering is the single best treatment and the only way to prevent this type of cancer from occurring is to neuter your pet at the appropriate age.
If you have a new pet that has not been neutered yet, it is a good idea to schedule a physical exam with your veterinarian. Please do not hesitate to call us here at The Spay Clinic with any questions or to schedule an appointment with any concerns.