Diseases of the Scrotum in Dogs

By Jen Davis

Your dog's scrotum is the pouch of skin that contains his testicles. Your dog can suffer from a significant amount of pain and discomfort if his scrotum is damaged or affected by a disease. It is important for you to educate yourself about the ailments that can affect your dogs scrotum so that you will recognize a problem when it occurs and can obtain proper veterinary treatment.

Environmental Problems

Your dog's scrotum is made of skin, which is vulnerable to an assortment of different environmentally caused ailments. Contact dermatitis can affect the scrotum. It occurs when skin that is not protected by your canine's fur coat is exposed to chemicals or any other substance that causes skin irritation. Contact dermatitis typically looks like a rash or hives. You may notice that your dog's skin is red, inflamed, covered in bumps, moist, weepy, crusty or blistered.

Your dog's scrotum also can be affected by sunburn or frostbite due to overexposure to the elements. Sunburned skin may be red, blistered and painful when touched. Frostbitten skin tends to be discolored, cold to the touch, painful when touched, swollen and may develop blisters or ulcers.

Parasite infestations, such as those caused by the parasitic mites that cause mange, can affect the skin on the scrotum as well as the rest of the body.

Injuries and Infection

When your dog's testicles become inflamed, the condition is known as orchitis. Orchitis can be a chronically recurring condition but more often tends to be caused by an injury to your dog's testicles and scrotum. Injuries to the scrotum and testicles can occur during dog fights, while playing or if your dog is involved in an accident.

If your dog's scrotum has been damaged due to injury, you need to be aware of the risk of infection. This is especially true if there is a cut or open wound on the scrotum. If your dog's scrotum is damaged or appears swollen, you need to take him the veterinarian immediately.

Tumors and Cancers

Several types of cancers and tumors can affect your dog's scrotum. According to the National Canine Cancer Foundation, most testicular tumors develop from the cells responsible for secreting testosterone, developing sperm or from the cells located in the innermost layers of the testicle. Other types of tumors that commonly occur in the testes and scrotum include granulosa cell tumors, embryonal carcinomas, hemangiomas, sarcomas, gonadoblastomas, teratomas, lymphomas, rete testis, mucinous adenocarcinomas and mast cell tumors.

Testicular cancer often causes a dog's testicles to become swollen. He also may show other signs of illness such as difficulty walking, pain or lethargy. Most of these tumors are treated by removing the tumor and neutering the dog. Some types of treatment may require further medical intervention and prescription medications.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a tick-borne illness that can make your dog sick in a number of different ways. This disease is transmitted via a bite from an infected tick. Rocky Mountain spotted fever causes swelling and edema that can cause your dog's scrotum to swell. Other symptoms include lethargy, loss of appetite, blood in urine, discolored skin, loss of coordination, difficultly walking, depression, irregular heartbeat, bleeding from the nose, blood in stool, clotting problems, swollen lymph nodes and eye problems. Take your dog to the veterinarian immediately if you believe he is suffering from Rocky Mountain spotted fever.