What to do about undescended testicle in 8 month old puppy?
July 28, 2007 5:20 PM   Subscribe

My 8 month old Maltillion (Maltese and Papillion) puppy has only one 3/4 descended testicle. The vet said, 3 months ago, that she thought she located the second one, very small, high up in his abdomen and she suggested waiting until he was 8 months old before considering surgery to go up and retrieve it as its possible it will turn cancerous if left up there. Now the 8 month deadline is up and the recalcitrant testicle still hasn't shown up!

The one that has, somewhat, come down is of a darkish color sort of purple/blue. Is anyone familiar with this condition and, if so, do we really have to act quickly to get the undescended one out or can we wait another few months as I hate to put the shy, sweet little guy through the abdominal surgery if I can avoid it. Is there anything we can do to encourage the second one to descend? Thanks!
posted by Tullyogallaghan to Pets & Animals (9 answers total)
Your veterinarian, trained in the diagnosis and treatment of animals such as dogs, has suggested that eight months is an appropriate time to do surgery to remove an undescended testicle.

Unless there are DVMs lurking about who've been quiet up to now, or canine biologists, none of us have the slightest damn idea what the appropriate standard of care is.

If you want a non-bullshit answer, take the dog to another vet for a new evaluation.

If you really want answers from this random pack of boobs, then:

do we really have to act quickly to get the undescended one out

Only if you love him.

Be aware that an undescended testicle might be nowhere near the scrotum. My beloved, in her incarnation as a vet tech, once found one near a dog's knee, IIRC.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:55 PM on July 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

In my experience, it is unlikely that an undescended testicle will descend in a puppy as old as 8 months. Generally testicles will descend before this age or not at all. There is nothing you can do to encourage the second one to descend--surgery, sooner rather than later, is your best bet.
posted by MagicDolphin at 6:05 PM on July 28, 2007

My mutt had Cryptorchidism too. His undescended testicle was up in his abdomen, and I had it removed a few months after I got him, when he was probably a year and half old. This is a genetic defect of dogs, and animals with the problem shouldn't be allowed to breed, to avoid passing the gene combination on.

There is an elevated risk that the undescended testicle will turn cancerous, so most vets will recommend surgery to remove it, when the dog is neutered. This is most frequently an operation requiring an abdominal incision of several inches in length, through which the vet can explore the abdomen to find and excise the retained testicle. The dog will generally have a period of 1 to 2 weeks of post-operative recovery, and you'll be given pain meds and perhaps antibiotics as home administered post-op meds. You may need a follow up visit for removal of stitches, and the dog may need to wear a cone "collar" for a week to 10 days post-surgery, to prevent licking and orally tearing at the stitches. There is some small risk to the animal due to general anesthesia, and operative shock and trauma, but for young otherwise healthy dogs, it is small enough in comparison to the elevated cancer risk, to make the surgery warranted, in most cases.

Costs will generally be in the range of several hundred dollars, if there are no major complications.
posted by paulsc at 6:41 PM on July 28, 2007

Some dog breeders like to wait 12 months, this is almost always wishful thinking. Most of the time, if it hasn't dropped by 6-8 months, it very probably won't. And no, there is nothing you can do to make it descend as far as I know.
posted by biscotti at 6:45 PM on July 28, 2007

(oh, and it's "Papillon", there's only one "i") :)
posted by biscotti at 6:46 PM on July 28, 2007

Thanks for the correction but I think Papillion has two "l's.
posted by Tullyogallaghan at 6:58 PM on July 28, 2007

It's a Papillon, the French word for butterfly, from the shape of its head and ears. Two L's, one i. The "lon" does sound like "-ion".
posted by mendel at 7:04 PM on July 28, 2007

There's a Papillion, Nebraska, but the dog breed is spelled differently.

To answer your question, this surgery doesn't have to be done immediately, but sooner is better than later. Is your dog already fixed? As other posters have suggested, it's probably best to do those at the same time. If your dog is already fixed, yes, you can probably wait a month or two, but it is something you're eventually going to have to face up to getting done. Unfortunately, there isn't a maneuver, medicine, or voodoo technique short of surgery that's likely to get that testicle out of there.
posted by infinitywaltz at 8:32 PM on July 28, 2007

Posting here under my husband's name, but I am a vet.

I doubt the retained testicle will descend, so any time now would be fine to do the surgery. I'm guessing that the discoloration that you're seeing on the partially descended testicle is just normal pigment and nothing to worry about. If that seems wrong, please see your vet ASAP.

If the retained testicle requires an abdominal incision (sometimes they don't because they are up where the inner thigh meets the abdomen--the inguinal area) it really isn't any different than a spay incision in a female. Although paulsc is right in saying there should be a week or two recovery period, most dogs don't realize that and they are bouncing about in a day or so. You will likely be instructed to keep your pup quiet for at least 7 days which can be quite a challenge. Some folks don't use external sutures to close neuter/spay incisions (I don't usually) so you don't get an e-collar unless your dog licks at his surgery site too much.

The only drawback to waiting a few more months is if your dog is showing male-related behaviors that you would rather he didn't as these get worse with time. I would certainly do the surgery before he is 2. And if he is getting chubby (doubtful with that mix unless you are determined to fatten him up) the sooner the better. Fat dog surgery is hard on the vet and thus hard on the dog.

For specific concerns, it would be best to schedule an exam with your vet prior to surgery. Go with a list of questions to make sure you don't forget to ask anything. Your vet can then check the testicle position and also check your pup for any retained baby teeth that can be removed at the same time as the neuter.

If you're concerned about cost, be aware that costs tend to go up as the size of the dog goes up, as a bigger dog takes more medication (for anesthesia, pain control, etc).

And since I mentioned cost, a cryptorchid neuter is more than a regular neuter because you are being charged based on the time the procedure actually takes vs a flat rate.

Best of luck with your dog.
posted by argybarg at 2:33 PM on July 29, 2007

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