Monorchidism in dogs.

This condition affects males dogs and happens when only one testicle descends into the scrotum.  It’s a fairly common condition which can be detected once the dog reaches between two and six months of age.

Monorchidism is generally a genetic condition where a lack of specific hormones disrupts the development of the gonads – however, this is not fully understood and further research into the condition in pure bred dogs are still underway.

The only way to find out for sure whether your dog has this condition, is to take him to your veterinarian for examination and possibly blood tests.  Once the condition has been verified there are really only two courses of action. Hormone therapy might be recommended, but this can only be done on puppies who are four months or younger.

The second option is surgery to remove both testes and this is generally recommended to reduce the risk of the dog developing cancer in the future.  The reason for the high risk of cancer with this condition is believed to be related to a higher temperature in the belly, where the testicle is located, compared to the lower temperature it would normally be subject to, had it been located in its proper position in the scrotum.

One might ask; where does the testicle end up, if it does not descend.  There are two locations where un-descended testicles can be located; one is in the belly area, the other at the point where the belly meets the back legs.

Problems with leaving the dog intact can involve the possible occurrence of cancer, but also added complications should the un-descended testicle become twisted.  Although relatively rare, it is possible for the free floating testicle located in the belly area, to suddenly twist – known as testicular torsion.

As Monorchidism is believed to be an inherited problem, it is recommended that affected dogs should never be bred from – that is even if dogs with this condition are fertile, which is highly unlikely.

It is important for dogs with this condition to have surgery to remove both testicles in order to ensure the dog does not suffer any further long term disease or painful torsions.

While neutering a dog with this condition can be a little more complicated (since an incision into the abdomen will be necessary), the prognosis is however very good; albeit with a slightly longer recovery time – usually 10 -14 days.  Dogs recovering from surgery will need to be kept very quiet in order for the healing process to be as fast as possible – he will also need to wear and Elizabethan collar to stop him from worrying his wounds.