We see a fairly large number of animals whose testicles haven’t fully descended. In the foetus, the testicles begin life up near the kidneys, they slowly then move down through the abdomen, go through a hole in the abdominal muscles deep in the groin (called the inguinal canal) finally appearing in the scrotum, usually before birth. Sometimes they are not there at birth but will often complete the journey and appear in the first few months of life. Sometimes one makes it and one doesn’t. Sometimes, however, they don’t make it and can be anywhere between the kidney and the scrotum. Testicles are designed to operate at just below body temperature so any that are caught in the body are too warm and will not function properly. They may be fertile, but they may not be, they may cause pain or hormonal problems, but the biggest threat is that they are prone to cancer as the animal gets older. The problem with this is you can’t see them so the cancer remains undetected until it starts to cause problems (cancer can occur in testicles that are in the normal place as well).
For this reason we strongly recommend that testicles that haven’t ‘made it’ are surgically removed when the animal is still young. The surgery can be relatively easy if they have made it to the inguinal canal, but they can get stuck in the canal which is tricky as major blood vessels and nerves also use the canal, but they can be more or less anywhere in the abdomen so surgery can be complicated. The other problem we have is that because they haven’t developed properly, they can be very small making them harder to find. Our initial FREE puppy and kitten health check, followed by health checks when your pet is vaccinated let us detect and discuss with you this problem if we find it.