Cryptorchidism describes a condition in which one or both testicles are not contained inside the scrotum.
The undescended testicle(s) remains in the abdominal cavity or in the inguinal region (groin). In the beginning the dog shows no symptoms other than the missing testicle(s) in the scrotum. The danger of cryptorchidism lies in the consequences. Undescended testicles cannot produce sperm, the dog can become infertile. The risk of developing testicular cancer increases and can be life-threatening for the dog.
The testicles of the male dog are formed near the kidney during its embryonal development in the abdomen; they are not located in the scrotum from the beginning. From the place of origin the testicles slowly go down through the area of the hernia into the scrotum. Normally, the testicles reached the scrotum at the latest as of the 9th week after birth, they can be felt. Should after that time one testicle be not located in the scrotum, then normally cryptorchidism exists.
In some cases, the descent can be induced by the administration of hormones. The earlier the treatment is started, the better are the prospects. In case the descent cannot be provoked, then the testicle should be removed surgically. Please observe in any case the notes on castration. It is assumed that the disease is inheritable and therefore a dog should not sire offspring when having cryptorchidism. It is not suitable for breeding.
In case you notice that not both testicles descended with your male dog, then at next opportunity a veterinarian should be consulted. When buying a dog pay attention if both testicles are descended and in case of need turn to a veterinarian. Subsequent operation is relatively expensive and risky. In young age of the male dog, feeling and finding the testicles is rather difficult. On the one hand, the testicles are at this time not yet completely developed, are small and therefore hard to find. On the other hand, the dog reacts in many cases with defensive movements when touching this area. When feeling pay attention to proceed carefully and also search in the inguinal area next to the penis. Often, the search is easier when the dog is sitting or lying.