Dog Testicular Cancer
Dog Testicular Cancer
While testicular Dog Cancer is rare in younger dogs, it is considered one of the more common tumors in dogs that are intact as they reach their senior years.
These tumors are most commonly found in older intact males. They can, however, occur at any age. Causes are unknown. Dogs that have un-descended testicles are much more likely to develop these tumors in those testicles. There are no other obvious causes for testicular cancer or tumors.
There are three different types of tumors: seminomas, sertoli cell and interstitial cell. All of these tumors are treated the same way as a rule. They generally result in castration of your dog.
Types of Tumors and their progression
Interstitial tumors have very few symptoms and do not metastasize or produce any estrogen. They are not thought to be much of a problem.
Sertoli tumors will appear with testicular and scrotal swelling. If the dog has undescended testicles there will also be swelling in the abdominal or inguinal area as well. Half of these tumors will produce estrogen. This will cause hyperestrogenism. When this occurs there will be prostate enlargement as well as mammary glands. There will be Dog Anemia and hair loss and other male dogs will be attracted to the animal. There is a possibility that this type of tumor will metastasize to the other parts of the body, but this is not a common occurrence.
Seminomas will also cause swelling of the scrotum, inguinal, abdominal and testicular areas. This type of tumor does not usually metastasize but has been known to in about 5% of the cases that have been reported.
All of the diagnoses are based on what symptoms are presented to your veterinarian, the history of the swelling and identification through biopsy. If a dog has been diagnosed with testicular cancer there should also be X-rays taken of the abdomen and chest to check for possible metastasis. Blood work consisting of a complete blood count and chemistry panel should also be done.
The usual treatment is castration of the dog. This is very successful and there is seldom need for further treatment, especially in healthy dogs. There are instances when metastasis occurs that some chemotherapy will be used.
This can be summed up in three words: usually very good. With the low rate of metastasis that usually occurs, castration will usually take care of the problem. Dogs with an increased level of estrogen will usually have fewer symptoms after castration. Occasionally there are instances of severe hyperestrogenism that will also result in anemia. In this case more aggressive treatment is indicated. If the tumors have metastasized, the prognosis is more guarded. The outcome in these instances will vary with type, treatment and location.
Prevention is the key. The primary prevention is castration of all male dogs. If you have young dogs castrated it will also prevent some aggression, marking, roaming and a host of other undesirable traits. Having a male neutered is a safe and inexpensive preventative treatment for these and many other undesirable characteristics. If the testicles are not descended they should always be castrated. The owner should not settle for anything less than having both testicles removed.