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Testicular Tumors

By: Dr. Douglas Brum

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Testicular tumors are common tumors that involve the testicles in intact male animals. The three most common types of testicular tumors are Sertoli cell tumors, interstitial cell tumors and seminoma.

Testicular tumors usually develop in older animals, with 10 years old being the average age. The majority of testicular tumors are benign, but about 15 percent of Sertoli cell tumors are malignant. Five to 10 percent of seminoma tumors are malignant. Interstitial cell tumors are very rarely malignant.

The cause of tumor development is unknown, but dogs that are cryptorchid, that have a testicle that has not descended into the scrotum, are much more likely to develop a tumor. Cryptorchid testicles are generally intra-abdominal (within the abdomen), but may be under the skin in the inguinal area where the hind leg meets the body wall.

Testicular tumors may occur in any breed of dog, but may have an increased incidence of occurrence in German shepherd dogs, boxers, Weimaraners and Shetland sheepdogs.

What to Watch For

  • Soft or firm swellings in one or both testicles
  • Single enlarged testicle or asymmetric testicles
  • Generalized scrotal enlargement
  • Infertility in the breeding stud dog

    Diagnosis

  • A good physical examination including palpation (feeling) of the testicles
  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Platelet count
  • Biochemical profile
  • Urinalysis with or without culture and sensitivity
  • Thoracic (chest) and abdominal radiographs (x-rays)
  • Abdominal and or scrotal ultrasound
  • Fine needle aspiration or biopsy
  • Histopathology (microscopic analysis of tissue) of removed testicle

    Treatment

  • Surgical removal of both testicles
  • Chemotherapy if the tumor has metastasized
  • Radiation therapy if the tumor has metastasized
  • Supportive care if associated disease conditions are present

    Home Care and Prevention

    Watch the incision daily for any sign of swelling or discharge. The scrotal sack may be slightly swollen postoperatively, but the swelling should slowly resolve within a week or two.

    If skin sutures are used, they should be removed in 7 to 10 days. If your dog begins to lick the area excessively, an Elizabethan collar designed to prevent licking at incisions may be required. Seek veterinary care if your dog has a fever, or is feeling ill postoperatively.

    If your dog had bone marrow hypoplasia, usually due to a Sertoli cell tumor, close monitoring of blood tests will be required.

    An excellent preventive measure is to have your dog neutered (castrated) at an early age.

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