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Date:   28 May, 2013  
Focus: Small animals - dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, turtles & rabbits
High anaesthetic risks in surgery  of undescended testicular tumours in old dogs
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
Date:   28 May, 2013 
Be Kind To Pets
Veterinary Education
Project 2010-0129

1434. Two cases of undescended testicular tumours in old dogs

May 27, 2013

Case 1. 
Anaesthetic risks are very high when an old dog is operated and all vets will have encountered deaths on the operating table. This case was one of them.

A woman adopted a bigger Papillion cross-bred that has a left undescended testicle larger than the biggest hen's egg you will ever see in a supermarket. That was some weeks ago when she asked me to examine the dog and to age  him. I estimated the age to be over 6 years as the teeth were in good condition. She did not want any surgery to remove the large left undescended testicular tumour.  

2 days ago, the lady brought in the dog as there was a few new lumps growing beside this tense skin testicular tumour, irritating the dog causing him to lick it. I warned the owner of the very high risk. The tumour was massive and the cancer cells would have destroyed much of the testicle based on this large size.

"I met his ex-owner who came to me when I was walking the dog a few days ago. The person asked why I was so stupid to adopt a 12-year-old dog but did not acknowledge she was the owner." 

The tumour and the cysts were removed. It was quite a bloody surgery. The dog survived the surgery but passed away probably from heart failure around 12 hours later as her tongue and gums were cyanotic.  The woman was understanding. Dogs over 7 years old are considered high anaesthetic risks and most owners and vets prefer not to operate on such categories of dogs as so much risks and emotions are involved when a dog dies on the operating table.

Case 2.
One day before this case, there was the 13-year-old Shih Tzu with the recurring ringworm in his belly. He had an undescended left testicle 3 x larger than the descended one and is much firmer. The dog came in for the generalised ringworm in April and had recovered in her face, legs and body. But the belly was itchy and red rings appeared. It was a new case of ringworm again.
Left undescended testicular tumour has been removed together with the descended right normal testicle in this 13-year-old Shih Tzu

"Why didn't you tell me that my dog had testicular tumour the last time you saw her for ringworm?" the woman in her 50s asked me.

She had brought in the dog for an itchy body which did not respond to anti-ringworm drugs prescribed by two vets consulted and by her self-treatment of over-the-counter lotion.

 "At that time, the undescended tumour was not so big and hard," I advised neutering. This was done under general anaesthesia with little bleeding unlike case 1. The tumour had not grown fast and large yet. The dog is of a similar age as Case 1 but survived the anaesthesia and is well as at today (3 days after surgery). 

Annual health examination of your older male dog by your vet will have been best if you don't want him neutered. It is best to neuter dogs with undescended testicles as there is a high probability of them becoming cancerous. Although anaesthesia is safe nowadays, old dogs are always a high anaesthetic risk.   

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