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D2003-28

Dear Daisy Dog

Skye, our one-year-old Shetland sheepdog, has only one testicle. Our veterinarian recommends neutering him, but my husband is against it. Can you give us a second opinion?

Daisy Responds

Normal male dogs who will not be bred should be neutered to decrease the risk of potentially severe – and expensive – prostate disease as they age.

Neutered dogs are also less likely to mark their territory by urinating indoors, display dominance aggression with their families, run away (and get hit by a car in the process) and fight with other male dogs.

Those are reasons enough to neuter, but Skye has one more: he’s cryptorchid. (“Crypt” means hidden, and “orchid” refers to the testicle.)

Dogs’ testicles normally descend before six months of age, so it’s unlikely his missing testicle will show up on its own.
A testicle hidden in the abdomen is almost 14 times more likely to develop cancer than the normal testicle. While the risk increases with age, testicular tumors have been reported in dogs as young as three.

No one knows why retained testicles are so often the site of cancer, but veterinarians theorize that the higher temperature inside the abdomen, compared with the scrotum, may play a role.

The only good reason to breed a dog is to improve the quality of the breed. Cryptorchidism is usually inherited, so Skye should not be bred.

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