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Date:   14 December, 2014  
Focus: Small animals - dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, turtles & rabbits


How your dog can live longer?
Two undescended testicles in a Pomeranian

Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
Date:   14 December, 2014  

Dec 12, 2014

The Pom came in for vaccination. He is the daughter's dog but she had given him to the 68-year-old mother to take care as she had married and moved out.

The mother had consulted me some 30 years ago and said: "You are still working,"  
"Nowadays, the younger generation does not want to work hard," I replied. "They want to enjoy life as well, to achieve a work-life balance. Some do not want to work at all despite being highly and expensively educated!"

"Yes, I know of a father who sent 3 children to Australia to study," the pioneer-generation woman said. "He found out that they were not attending classes and terminated his support. The two daughters married and are not working. The son finally realised that he had better get a University education and asked his father for a second chance to study in Australia. Now he is a Chief Executive Officer of a company."  .

"In any case, it is better to work than stay at home, eat, watch TV and sleep all day," I said. "I work in the mornings. Are you still working?"

"I work in the Changi Airport," she replied.

"Some people die early when they don't work, but eat and sleep," I said. "I hear from a client who recruits young men for the flying club that they younger Singaporeans are generally in poor health as many cannot qualify to be pilots. Many young people are getting diabetes and high blood pressure at a young age."

"Nowadays, people can die young," she recounted her recent experience. "There was a man around 30 years old who collapsed recently," she said. "The Airport Clinic at Terminal 2 referred him to the one in Terminal 3. At Terminal 3, he was rushed by ambulance to the hospital where he died."

"Do you have to take medication for high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol?" I asked this slim woman with grey hairs. "No, not at all," she replied. I sent her back to her home in Toa Payoh Lor 8, as she said it was difficult to get a taxi.

"I can find a home for him if you "don't want him," I said to the mother. But the mum would not part with the dog. In an empty nest, the dog is the best companion for the elderly.

The one-year-old had 2 undescended testicles and I advised neutering as they are prone to develop cancer. She said she would ask her daughter who had reminded her to get the dog vaccinated. That was why she came. Many Singapore owners do not want to neuter their male dogs as they consider it cruelty. However, they tend to forget about their dog's health when he grows older and cancerous testicles do kill the dog as the cancerous cells rot over time.

Two undescended testicles are relatively rare as compared to one being undescended. I have made a video
at to educate pet owners and vet students.



EXPERIENCES IN THE TREATMENT OF CANINE CRYPTORCHIDSM (one or both testicles not in the scrotum) OR MONORCHIDISM (one testicle in the scrotum) AT TOA PAYOH VETS

1. Well informed dog owners in Singapore are worried that the undescended testicle or testicles will become cancerous and request neutering (orchiectomy).

2. Beside cancerous testicles, there is a possibility of testicular torsion in the undescended testicle. This can be an emergency as blood supply to the testicle is compromised leading to testicular gangrene.
2.1 Surgery (orchiopexy) involves sewing the testicle to the scrotum.
2.2 Manual rotation of the testicle (towards or away from the thigh) to untwist the torsion. Give painkillers.  Sometimes, this is successful and no surgery is needed. Orchiopexy or orchiectomy is seldom advised by some vets. The owner may not want surgery. 

3. The locations of the undescended testicle can be below the kidney leading to the inguinal canal, the inguinal canal, ectopic (outside the inguinal canal e.g. under the skin of the thigh, perineum, femoral canal), undeveloped (hypoplastic), abnormal (dysgenetic) or absent (anorchia). The vet may have difficulty finding the undescended testicle in some of the locations.

3.1 For abdominal cryptorchids, the testicle can be found beside the bladder in many cases.

4  For professional dog shows, dogs must have 2 descended testicles. Some owners may request orchiopexy to qualify for dog shows. Inguinal based testicles can be pulled towards the scrotum and anchored there.

5. Orchiopexy prevents the development of testicular torsion.

6. I have seen a case of an old Rottweiler dying from a large cancerous abdominal retained testicle (seen from X-ray). I have seen inguinal testicular tumours necrotic as the owner did not seek early treatment.   

7. It is expensive to use imaging to look for the undescended testicle in the dog.

8. In cases where the undescended testicle disappears into the abdomen when the dog is placed ventro-dorsal on the operation table, I advise putting the dog upright, locate and grasp the testicle under the skin before putting the dog on the ventro-dorsal position. This saves the trouble of opening up the abdomen to take out the disappeared testicle.

9. If no testicle is found inside the abdomen, it is possible that the dog has anorchia or ectopic testicle. Inform the owner accordingly and record in the medical records for the dog licensing application. Neutered dogs are charged cheaper licences in Singapore.

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All rights reserved. Revised: December 14, 2014

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