Another disease that is known to happen among dogs is testicular cancer. It was once thought to be a rare disease among our canine companions, but unbeknownst to many, it is common among dogs that are “intact” or those that have not been castrated. Studies show that 27% of intact dogs may have testicular tumors already.
Whilst testicular cancer in dogs is indeed a known disease, there are a few categories that the disease can fall under. In some cases a dog may develop more than one at the same time:
- Sertoli Cell Tumors - these occur sometimes when the intact dog's testes are undescended. This is when the dog's testes do not go down into his scrotum. This can also start with an excessive excretion of estrogen into the body.
- Seminomas - this forms within the inner layers of the testicles. This is a form of cancer that can be easily treated and is completely curable if it is discovered at an early stage.
- Leydig Interstitial Cell Tumors - this one forms within the area where testosterone is created. An excessive production of testosterone can be observed.
Testicular cancer usually happens among older dogs. As long as your dog is intact, he has a risk of getting testicular cancer in dogs, but there are certain breeds that are known to have a higher risk of getting the disease:
- Afghan hounds
- Siberian huskies
- Shetland sheepdogs
- Fox terriers
- Norwegian elkhounds
- German shepherds
Other factors that can possibly contribute to the cause of testicular cancer in a dog is its environment. Exposure to certain chemicals can also cause this disease.
Signs And Symptoms Of Testicular Cancer In Dogs
If you think your dog may already have testicular cancer, there are a few signs and symptoms that you may want to look out for:
- A swelling of the testicles
- Noticeable hair loss
- Darkening of your dog's skin
- Instead of lifting his leg, your dog might start squatting when he urinates.
- Feminization, or manifestation of female characteristics, may occur if there is an excessive production of estrogen. This can include mammary enlargement and in some cases, possible milk production.
- Penile atrophy or the change in size of the penis. This means the penis may become smaller due to the disease that your dog may already have.
- With excessive production of estrogen in the body, it can also cause blood dyscrasias which makes the components of the blood become abnormal.
- Red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in the blood become smaller in number.
If you think that your dog may already be suffering from testicular cancer, have a veterinarian run a few tests on him. A few of the tests that will be administered are:
- Fine needle aspiration cytology – this is used as well to get any samples within any massive growth that may have occurred to your dog and to help determine if the disease is malignant or not.
- Rectal palpitation – this helps in checking for any possible issues with the lymph node and if any enlargement on that has occurred. It can also be said that palpitation of the prostate gland will be needed as well.
- Complete blood count – this is done to tell if the dog's blood cell count is still normal or not. This is also used to check if anemia has also occurred.
- Abdominal ultrasound – this greatly helps if the vet suspects that the testes are undescended. This also allows them to check for any other part inside the dog's body that they need to be aware of.
- Testicular ultrasonography – this allows a vet to have a better view of the disease and tell if it is malignant or not.
Treatment of the disease can be as easy as neutering, or surgically removing the testes, of the dog. This can be done during the earlier stages of the disease and as long as the tumor cells have not metastasized or spread from one part of the body to another. If the cancer has already spread, chemotherapy may become necessary.
Neutering your dog at an early age can greatly help in preventing testicular cancer in dogs. Those that are cryptorchid, or have one or more testicle missing from the scrotum, must be neutered as soon as possible. Once the operation is done, the feminization of the dog will disappear in due time since the part that produces the estrogen is already removed. It is also known that dogs that are treated during the early stages of the cancer have a really high chance of recovery.