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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Undescended Testicles




Condition Overview

A dog in which one or both testicles have not descended and are missing from the scrotum is said to be cryptorchid. Mature dogs with two undescended testicles are sterile. A cryptorchid dog with one descended testicle may be fertile, but should not be used for breeding.


The testicles usually descend into the scrotum by 6 - 8 weeks of age, but may not descend until 6 months. Occasionally a testicle can be felt in the scrotum at one time but not at another. The testicles can retract up into the inguinal canal when a puppy is cold, excited, or actively playing. These puppies are not cryptorchid.


Cryptorchidism is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait.


Diagnosis is made by evaluating the symptoms.


Hormone injection have been used to stimulate testicular descent in puppies, but rationale is questionable. In some cases, descent would have occurred spontaneously. Furthermore, cryptochid dogs are not candidates for breeding because the condition is inheritable.

Removing both testicles is the treatment of choice because of the risk of developing testicular neoplasms, which may be as high as 50% in dogs with undescended testicles. During surgery, it is important to find and remove the cryptorchid testicles. This may involve making an abdominal incision.


Dogs with this condition should not be bred.


Please contact your veterinarian if you have questions or concerns regarding this condition.

Show Sources & Contributors +


Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook

Publisher: Wiley Publishing, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Authors: Debra M. Eldredge, Liisa D. Carlson, Delbert G. Carlson, James M. Giffen MD

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