Cryptorchidism in dogs - Causes and treatment

Cryptorchidism in dogs

Owners of males may encounter one very unpleasant developmental feature of the puppy's body. It is rare and is called cryptorchidism. Consider what the pathology threatens, and what reasons can lead to its development. And also let's talk about modern methods of treatment and methods for determining cryptorchidism.


What is cryptorchidism

This term is used by veterinarians as a pathological condition in which, for whatever reason, the testis does not descend into the scrotum in an animal. As a result of the pathology, both glands (or one) remain in the abdominal cavity. In some cases, their location in the inguinal canal is possible. Much less often, there is a situation in which, after leaving the inguinal canal, the testis changes its direction and does not descend into the scrotum. The place of its placement is the subcutaneous space in the groin area, on the inner surface of the thigh or in the perineum.


Causes of cryptorchidism

In order to understand the predisposing factors and causes of this pathology, experts recommend studying the stage of embryonic development. In the embryo, the testicles are located in the region of the kidneys. A special ligament is located between them and the scrotum. Over time, it is gradually shortened and the descent of the testes is carried out 10-14 days after birth. The testicles gradually pass through the abdomen, inguinal canal, and inguinal ring.

At the age of 5-6 months, the male's inguinal canal closes. Therefore, if the testicles did not descend before this age, then later this is no longer possible.

Experts distinguish two main classifications of causes. The first is based on the stage of development of the organism:

  • Embryonic. Associated with problems at the stage of embryo formation;
  • Postembryonic. Its causes are negative factors affecting the dog's body after birth.

There is also a classification of factors that provoke the development of cryptorchidism, based on the nature of the impact:

  • Anatomical. These veterinarians include low patency of the inguinal canal as a result of its small diameter, pathological length of the spermatic cord, small diameter of the inguinal ring, excessively large glands, or insufficient development of the scrotum;
  • Mechanical. These experts include injuries of a different nature, which cause undescended testicles;
  • Infectious, fungal or bacterial infections. They provoke the development of the inflammatory process. It, in turn, leads to a decrease in the diameter of the inguinal canal and ring. As a result, the gland cannot pass through them and the abdominal cavity remains the place of its localization;
  • Hormonal. Violation of the hormonal background is the cause of the underdevelopment of the ligament connecting the gland and the scrotum. It is she who is responsible for the testis through the channel of the same name and the ring.

Veterinarians remind that there are many reasons for the development of this disease. Therefore, timely diagnosis and examination of the animal makes it possible to establish why the dog has developed cryptorchidism and to take appropriate measures to normalize the reproductive function of the animal.


Types of cryptorchidism in dogs

Veterinarians use the modern classification of cryptorchidism, which includes pathological conditions such as:

  • Unilateral - We are talking about the absence of only one testis in the scrotum;
  • Bilateral - In this case, the scrotum does not contain either of the two testicles;
  • True - It is characterized by the inability to manually remove the testes through the inguinal canal. They remain in the abdominal cavity, localized in the inguinal canal, or located directly at the inguinal ring;
  • False - Its distinctive feature is the ability to forcibly lower the testis into the scrotum. The cause of the development of pathology is the high tone of the muscle, which is responsible for the rise of the testicle;
  • Ectopia - Cryptorchidism gets this name when the testicle is located in a place that is not typical for it. For example, under the skin of the thigh or perineum;
  • Raised testes - This pathological process is very rare. It is characterized by physiologically correct descent of the testis into the scrotum, and then removal from it. The cause is a shortened spermatic cord, which prevents the testicle from remaining in the scrotum.

Pathology is found in dogs of small breeds is an order of magnitude more common than in large pets. The most susceptible to her are Pomeranian, lapdogs, Chihuahuas, Yorkshire terriers, Pekingese, etc.


How to tell if a dog has cryptorchidism

To make a correct diagnosis, the veterinarian conducts a comprehensive examination, which includes:


  • Collecting an anamnesis of the disease. This stage is especially important in the case of a raised testis, since this approach makes it possible to assess the dynamics of changes in the location of the testicle;
  •  Visual inspection. Its task is to assess the degree of development of the scrotum. It will be identical to the physiological size of the organ when the testis is raised. And with other types of pathology, it will be significantly smaller;
  • Palpation. Allows you to assess the absence of a testis. And you should also examine all possible areas of its localization (under the skin on the thigh, in the perineum and other characteristic places);
  • Ultrasound. It is not an accurate research method due to the qualifications of specialists, as well as the possibility of error (the presence of gases in the abdominal cavity or other factors). Ultrasound cannot be the main diagnostic method;
  • Test using gonadotropin. Its essence lies in the change in testosterone levels when gonadotropin is administered to a dog. The required amount of the drug is administered to the dog, and the testosterone level is measured after 60 minutes. An increased level indicates the presence of a disease;
  • Laparoscopy is one of the most accurate diagnostic methods in a dog with intra-abdominal cryptorchidism (i.e., when the testis is located inside the abdominal cavity).

This is important: The optimal solution would be to use a comprehensive diagnosis that allows the veterinarian to make the correct diagnosis.


Is cryptorchidism dangerous?

Not every owner knows what threatens his pet with a refusal to treat cryptorchidism. Clinical studies have shown that such testes are prone to degeneration. The likelihood of the formation of seminomas and sertoliomas in cryptorchids increases 10-14 times compared with healthy individuals. The high-risk zone is dogs over the age of 5 years. This is the reason for the urgent recommendations of veterinarians to determine the method of treatment as early as possible.


You should also be aware that cryptorchids are prone to sterility. If in an animal both testicles have not descended into the scrotum, then such an animal is likely to be sterile. The testicles are located in the wrong temperature regime, which inevitably leads to the death of sperm. If only one testis has not descended, then such a dog in most cases can have offspring. But among puppies, the likelihood of having cryptorchids will be very high.


Cryptorchidism treatment

Currently, there are several treatment options for this disease. Depending on the type of pathology and physiological characteristics of the animal's body, the specialist chooses one of the possible treatment methods:

Conservative

It is based on massage sessions, as well as the use of hormonal agents. The earlier the owner consults the veterinarian, the higher the likelihood of successful treatment. Statistics show that it is possible to correct the situation in 20% of animals under the age of 6 months. Upon reaching six months, the inguinal canal closes, and cure seems unlikely. The massage is effective in localizing the testis near the scrotum.

Orchipexy 

The essence of the method lies in the forced movement of the testis into the scrotum with its subsequent fixation. After the treatment, 20-30% of animals retain the ability to fertilize. Statistics show that this pathology is hereditary. Therefore, such males should not be allowed for breeding, so as not to consolidate this pathology within the breeding line.

Orchiectomy

The method involves removing the testes under general anesthesia. Depending on the site of localization of the testicle, access to the abdominal cavity may be required, or the specialist may limit himself to only dissecting the skin.

This is important: If the owner suspects this pathology in his pet, then you should not delay, but immediately visit the veterinarian. The specialist will conduct an examination and, on the basis of the performed differential diagnosis, will not only make the correct diagnosis, but also select the optimal course of treatment.

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