Are Undescended Testicles A Cancer Risk?

James Glover
by James Glover
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QuestionI have a bull mastiff/doberman mix dog that is 10 months old. When I adopted him, I noticed that one of his testicles never dropped. A not so competent vet told me that if I do not get him neutered he would acquire cancer. Is that correct? (Joseph Gorgone - Maryland)

Answer

It is relatively common in mammals that one testicle fails to descent into the scrotum from where they develop in the abdomen. Normally the testicles will have both descended by two months of age, after which there is little chance of further development. The undescended testicle is usually non-functional and the name for this condition is cryptorchidism.

To say your dog will get cancer because of this is factually incorrect, but your dog's chances of developing cancer are greatly increased. In addition, the chances of recovery from cancer of an undescended testicle are slimmer than otherwise because of its proximity to other tissues. Because of this, your vet should recommend castration, which will involve routine removal of the normal testicle and an incision, possibly into the abdomen, to remove the undescended testicle.

Disclaimer: This service is meant to provide advice only and is not meant to replace an appointment with a registered veterinarian. Users should always seek a second opinion. Unfortunately we are only able to answer several questions per week so not everyone gets a published answer. And, unfortunately we can't answer by email.
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