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Testicular Torsion in Dogs

By: Dr. Bari Spielman

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Testicular torsion is a condition in which the spermatic cord undergoes rotation, leading to infarction or death of the tissue caused by a lack of blood supply to the testicle. It is most commonly associated with an enlarged, cancerous abdominal or undescended testicle.

Testicular torsion can also occur following rupture of the scrotal ligament, usually associated with trauma. It is uncommon and most often occurs in individuals who are cryptorchid, which means they have undescended testicles.

What to Watch For

  • Swollen testis or scrotum
  • Scrotal pain
  • Reluctance to stand or walk
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Shock
  • Listlessness
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain

    Diagnosis

  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Biochemical profile
  • Urinalysis
  • Abdominal radiographs (x-rays)
  • Ultrasound (abdomen, testicles)

    Treatment

    Testicular torsion is a medical emergency requiring surgical intervention. Treatment may include:

  • Intravenous fluid therapy and supportive care to stabilize critically ill patients

  • Exploratory laparotomy (surgery of the abdomen) with castration

  • Castration, which is the treatment of choice

  • Appropriate antibiotic therapy (based on culture and sensitivity) if there is devitalized tissue

    Home Care and Prevention

    Administer all medication and follow instructions given to you by your veterinarian. If any change is noted in your pet's condition, notify your veterinarian. The prognosis is generally good unless a metastatic testicular tumor is present.

    Neutering your pet early in life will prevent testicular torsion.

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