When male puppies are born, their testicles are contained in their abdominal cavity, but by the time they are about two months old their testicles should descend into the scrotum. This is normally the earliest point at which they can be successfully neutered, though many veterinarians may recommend waiting until they have reached four to six months of age. Unfortunately, while a typical neuter surgery is fairly straightforward, some puppies cannot undergo this simple procedure in order to become sterile. This is because some puppies suffer from cryptorchidism, wherein one or both of their testicles fail to properly descend into the scrotum. Their testicles remain in the abdomen, either deep in the abdominal cavity or just beneath the skin, and in many cases this needs to be surgically resolved in order to protect or restore the dog’s health.
Concerns Regarding Cryptorchidism
Your puppy or dog is likely to be diagnosed with cryptorchidism if they are at least six months of age and either one or both of their testicles have failed to descend into the scrotum. This condition is normally inherited, and purebred dogs tend to be more affected than mixed breeds, especially toy-sized purebred dogs. Dogs that retain both testicles are usually not fertile, but dogs that retain only one testicle can often still be fertile. It is therefore extremely important to neuter these dogs fully, so that they cannot procreate and continue to pass on this condition.
Cryptorchidism is not normally a painful condition. If there is pain in the area, this indicates that complications have developed as a result of the condition. However, even when the dog isn’t in any pain your veterinarian will recommend removing the undescended testicle or testicles in order to protect the dog’s health, as there are instances when retained testicles can lead to cancer conditions.
What to Expect
A cryptorchid neuter surgery is not entirely unlike a standard neuter surgery. The veterinarian will:
- Perform an ultrasound in order to locate both testicles in the dog’s abdomen.
- Make a plan to surgically excise the retained testicles.
- Run the necessary blood work in order to determine what type of anesthesia is best.
- Require that the dog refrain from eating or drinking for several hours leading up to the surgery.
- Administer anesthesia to the dog.
- Use a ventilator to help smooth the dog’s breathing.
- Monitor the dog’s heart using an EKG machine.
- Make the necessary incisions to remove the retained testicle or testicles. If only one testicle has been retained, or if both testicles have been retained in the abdomen, a single incision should be sufficient. However, if both testicles have been retained in the inguinal canal, two incisions are likely required.
- Carefully cut out the retained testicles.
- Close the incision with sutures.
Dogs are closely monitored following surgery, especially as they awaken, to ensure that they are successfully coming out of anesthesia well. In some cases, your veterinarian may recommend the administration of pain medication in order to aid your dog’s comfortable recovery. They will also discuss post-op care for your dog, which will include minimal physical activities and stimulation during the appropriate healing period, as well as smaller food portions that are gradually increased back to the normal level. It is highly recommended that dogs wear an Elizabethan collar until the incision site is fully healed to prevent them from licking and biting in the area.
Obviously, cryptorchid neuter surgery is a permanent procedure. A young dog who undergoes this surgery usually recovers very well and quickly. Older dogs who undergo this surgery may take a bit longer to recover, but they too recover well and they actually tend to lead a better quality of life than those dogs with retained testicles who do not receive the surgery. Another point to take notice of is the fact that dogs who have undergone cryptorchid neuter surgery have no risk of testicular cancer, which can be an enormous relief to their owners. On the other hand, retained testicles can sometimes be surgically brought down into the scrotum, but this increases the dog’s likelihood of developing cancer by up to thirteen times.
For more information about cryptorchid neuter surgery, contact La Crosse today.