Swollen Testicles in Dogs

By Jen Davis

It is essential that you take your dog to the veterinarian if you notice that his testes are swollen, irritated or injured in any way. Swollen testicles are an indicator that your dog might be suffering from a serious health problem.Prompt veterinary treatment can make a difference in your dog's final prognosis.

Signs of Testicular Problems

Your dog cannot tell you that his testicles are swollen and painful, but you will be able to recognize the signs that something is causing your pet discomfort. One obvious sign of a testicular problem is visibly swollen, enlarged testicles. You may notice your dog is persistently licking his testicles or has irritated skin on the testicles or around the scrotum. You may notice lethargy, difficulty walking or a loss of appetite. He may have fever, and he could have an open wound in the area.

Testicular Tumors and Cancer

Testicular cancer can affect any male dog, though older dogs tend to be more likely to develop cancer in one or both testicles. Several types of testicular cancer exist; two thirds of testicular tumor cases involve malignant growths. Malignant growths are cancerous; they pose a serious health threat to your dog if they are not treated promptly and properly. Dogs who suffer from cryptorchidism, or a condition in which one or both testicles does not descend properly into the scrotum, are more likely to develop testicular tumors than normal male dogs.

Specific symptoms of testicular tumors include changes in size: One testicle may appear to be growing or swelling, while the other appears to be shrinking or atrophying. Other symptoms are development of mammary glands, expression of milk from mammary glands of male dog, an atrophied penis, and internal organ damage. If your veterinarian suspects that your dog has testicular cancer, he will perform blood tests, physical palpitations, biopsies and ultrasounds to confirm. Once the diagnosis has been made, your dog may have to undergo surgery to remove the cancer, followed by extended medical treatments to ensure the cancer has been eliminated.

Orchitis and Epididymitis

Orchitis occurs when the testicles become inflamed. Epididymitis, a similar condition, occurs when the testicular tube becomes inflamed. These conditions can be chronic, but they may also be caused by infection, injury or trauma to the genitalia. Epididymitis and orchitis are generally treated by castration. A vet might prescribe antibiotics if he believes orchitis or epididymitis is rooted in infection. Treatment with antibiotics can be an alternative to castration of breeding animals.

Testicular Torsion

Testicular torsion occurs when the spermatic cord becomes twisted. The spermatic cord supports the testes from inside the scrotum. When testicular torsion occurs, the blood supply to the testes is cut off. Testicular torsion can lead to significant pain and serious complications, including infection and infertility. This condition is typically corrected by neutering.

Additional Considerations

A dog's testicles can be significantly damaged due to physical trauma of any kind. Physical trauma can be the result of an accident, a fight between pets or various other circumstances. If your dog's testicles have been injured, he needs to go to the veterinarian. Early treatment can stop some conditions from developing and help prevent later complications.

Note that many testicular problems are cured by neutering. Neutering is a safe and relatively inexpensive procedure that can prevent testicular health problems from occurring. Talk with your veterinarian about neutering your dog if you believe he is at risk for testicular health problems.