A cryptorchid dog is one that has a testicle that hasn't descended. In some cases, dogs can be bilaterally cryptorchid which means that neither testicle has descended.
The word cryptorchid is a latin word which means, "hidden flower". This is appropriate, as one or both of the dog's testicles will be hidden!
Every animal is born with gonads inside of the abdomen, not far from their kidneys. When an animal has a Y chromosome, the androgen produced causes these gonads to become testicles. (If there is no Y chromosome, then they become ovaries and stay permanently inside of the abdomen.) While the animal is still a fetus, increasing amounts of testosterone in the system cause the testicles to start their descent into the scrotum. It is believed that the rising testosterone level causes contractions in a ligament called the gubernaculum. The gubernaculum connects the testicles to the scrotum and the contraction of the gubernaculum pulls the testicle into the scrotum. On its way, it travels through the inguinal canal.
Most normal puppies will have two testicles in the scrotum by 6 weeks of age. However, in some dogs it can take up to 4 months to appear. In rare cases, it will take up to 7 months. If one or both of the testicles are not in the scrotum by 7 months then it is extremely unlikely that it will appear.
Here are some facts about the heritability of cryptorchidism in dogs
Most cryptorchid dogs will have reduced fertility. However, they still can breed and produce offspring. But, as mentioned above, a cryptorchid dog should not be bred for ethical reasons. We don't want to produce more dogs with this genetic condition.
Every cryptorchid male should be neutered. There are a few reasons for this. First of all, we do not want to breed these animals as they will likely pass on the condition to their puppies (see above). But, there are also some serious health risks associated with cryptorchidism:
When your dog is neutered, if he is cryptorchid there will be an extra cost added on to the neuter surgery. These costs can vary depending on how much time the surgeon has to spend on the surgery. In my clinic, these are the added costs:
***These prices may vary in other veterinary practices. The price may increase if a dog has both testicles hidden rather than just one, or if an abdominal testicle is really difficult for the vet to find.
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