Cryptorchidism is the most common congenital disorder of the testicles of dogs. It is a congenital sexual anomaly that is manifested by the incomplete descent of the testicles into the scrotal sac. It is considered an autosomal recessive trait limited to sex, meaning that both males and females carry the gene that can be transmitted to their progeny.
When detected, it is necessary that the animal is taken to the veterinarian because it could cause serious problems in the future, such as the appearance of Sertoli cell tumor, seminomas and testicular torsions.
The diagnosis is made by palpation and ultrasound, in order to know exactly the position of the testicles. The cure is to perform a surgical treatment for cryptorchid dogs

¿At what age is cryptorchidism manifested in dogs?

At 8 weeks, the sexual reproductive organ of dogs begins to be visible, however, the testicles are still in the process of positioning themselves in the scrotal sac. From the abdomen, halfway between the kidney and the inguinal ring, it is from where the testes descend; if there is any inconvenience in this process, cryptorchidism will occur.
When the puppy is 3 months old, the positioning of the testicles in the scrotum can be observed.
There are different types of cryptorchidism, among which are the inguinal, abdominal, intraabdominal and extraabdominal.
They are also classified by unilateral and bilateral. It is associated with the first term when a testicle is involved, mainly the right. It refers to the second, when it affects both.
Inguinal cryptorchidism occurs when one or both testicles do not reach the scrotal sac, remaining in the inguinal or subcutaneous channel in the groin area. The abdominal cryptorchidism occurs when they do not descend and stay in the abdomen.
Some breeds of dogs are more prone to cryptorchidism, among them, the Poodle, Yorkshire, Teckel Maltes, Boxer, Pekinese and the Miniature Schnauzer.

¿What is the treatment?

Surgical treatment in cryptorchid dogs is the only option for this anomaly, which consists in the removal of the testicles that have not descended. For each type of cryptorchidism there is a specific procedure.
Thus, for abdominal cryptorchidism, it is necessary to perform a ventral or preputial medial laparotomy of the abdominal cavity. This procedure consists of opening the abdominal walls to proceed to orchiectomy (removal) of one or both of the testicles.
For inguinal cryptorchidism, a small incision will be made locally for orchiectomy. In some inguinal cases, orchidopexy has been resorted to, which involves transferring the testicle to the scrotal sac, however, this procedure is not accepted in veterinary medicine as it violates ethics. Also, it may cause a greater probability of development of neoplasia or torsion of the retained testicle.
Instead of conventional laparotomy, minimally invasive surgery, known as laparoscopic surgery, is an alternative that offers great advantages, such as better visualization of the structure during procedures, a faster postoperative recovery and a shorter hospitalization period. .

Excision of the testicles

After having removed the testicle (s), orchiectomy or sterilization is recommended. It should be taken into account that at the moment of performing the excision, the location of the testicles is important, as the procedure varies.
In the case of the intra-abdominal cryptorchid testicle, an abdominal incision will be made through the ventral or parapreputial midline. The location should be done following the vas deferens or the testicular vessels from its prostatic end.
In the extra-abdominal, the common castration technique will be used, except when the incision made on the skin is directly on the testicle.

Other treatments for cryptorchidism

Some veterinarians recommend hormonal injections to help the testicles to descend. This treatment is most effective within the first four months of life and when the testicle is outside the abdominal cavity. It is fairly effective because testosterone is important in the second phase, inguinal, of the migration of the testes.
If this same treatment is performed when the testicle is in abdominal function, the effect will be practically nil. Massage therapy, likewise, may favor the treatment of inguinal cryptorchidism.

Pre-operative care for cryptorchid dogs

In order for anesthesia to be assimilated by the animal’s organism correctly, it must attend, from the day of surgery, fasting.
It is necessary to inform the veterinarian of the health problems presented by the animal or a history of surgeries. In the same way, the veterinarian should know the medications that the pet has been taking or if it is still in treatment.
Also, it is important to bathe the pet to remove all traces of dirt and tangles in the hair; it is even more advisable to shave the area that will be submitted to the intervention.

Post-operative care for cryptorchid dogs

When performing a laparoscopy, patient care does not require post-surgical hospitalization, this means that after anesthesia they can be discharged. As the case may be, analgesia will be necessary in the next 24 hours; Antibiotics will not be necessary, and wound care is minimal.
In general, inguinal cryptorchidism interventions are less complex, in two days the pet will already be in its natural mood; On the other hand, if it is an abdominal cryptorchidism, time doubles.
Of course, if a more complex surgical procedure is performed, the care is different from that of laparoscopic surgery and should be more thorough.
It is important to know that there is no way to prevent cryptorchidism. Therefore, it is recommended that sterilization be done at the time of removal, so that the descendants do not suffer from the same condition.
By not removing the testicles, the dog will be affected by a type of tumor that secretes large amounts of female hormones, which may suffer the feminization syndrome.