Cryptorchidism is when 1 or both of the testicles are not in the scrotum aka scrotal sac. This is also called undescended testicle(s) or retained testicle(s). This genetic condition is a cause for concern. When a puppy is born, the testicles reside in the abdomen, near the kidneys. As your pup ages, they slowly migrate to their rightful location in the scrotum. In dogs with this genetic disorder, 1 (unilateral) or both (bilateral) testicles get hung up somewhere along their journey. There are 2 main locations for the undescended testicle(s) to end up – In the belly (abdominal cryptorchid) or where the abdomen meets the back legs (called the inguinal region-inguinal cryptorchid). Depending upon the location, your vet might feel the undescended testicle during a physical exam. Leaving a cryptorchid dog intact, i.e. not neutered, can cause severe health problems. One is called testicular torsion – a testicle that is retained in the belly & free floating, instead of being secured in its intended location, so it could suddenly twist on itself ! This is a very painful condition & challenging to diagnose. Cryptorchid dogs also have a higher risk of testicular cancer. Leaving your dog intact is an unnecessary risk. Since cryptorchidism is a genetic disease, breeding dogs with this condition is not advised, as the father can pass it along to offspring. Regardless of the age of your dog & whether or not it is unilateral or bilateral, it is always recommended that you have the problem corrected. The only treatment is to have your dog neutered (i.e. both testicles removed). A cryptorchid neuter is a more involved surgery since it involves a “hunt” for the hidden testicle, more than one incision, & a longer surgery time.
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