As your puppy grows, you start seeing signs of development, but at some point you may be wondering at what age do those dog testicles drop. In dogs, it’s important that testicles drop because undescended testicles may become problematic to the dog’s health and veterinarians therefore will recommend neutering the dog. The age at which your dog’s testicles will drop varies from one dog to another, but as a general rule, they should have descended by the time your puppy came into your home, at around 8 weeks old.
A Lesson in Anatomy
Puppies aren’t factory made with testicles already in their scrotum, instead, the testicles are initially tucked up into the dog’s abdomen, just like the ovaries of a female dog.
It is only with age that the testes start the process of descending from the inguinal ring and finding their their way out to the scrotum.
There are three outcomes when it comes to the process of testicles descending: they can successfully descend into the scrotum, them may start descending, but stop somewhere along the way, or they may even never start the journey.
Failure for a dog’s testicle to descend means that the testicle is either trapped within the inguinal canal or inside the dog’s abdomen. Dogs may retain just one testicle or both testicles may be affected.
Age of Onset
Generally, a dog’s testicles should drop by the time the puppy is 8 weeks old; however, there are often exceptions to the rule and some dogs may take a little bit longer.
The exact process goes something like this: dogs are born with the testes tucked up within their abdomen, then around 10 days after birth, they descend into the scrotum. By 8 weeks of ages, both testicles should have dropped into the scrotum and they can often be easily be palpated.
As a general rule of thumb, if by the age of 6 to 7 months the testicles haven’t dropped yet, there are low chances that they ever will at this point.
While any dog breed may end up with retained testicles, this tendency has been found more in toy and miniature poodles, Yorkshire terriers, Pomeranians, Chihuahuas, Maltese, boxers, English bulldogs, Shetland sheepdogs, and miniature schnauzers.
“I have seen testicles drop as late as 6.5 months, and most of the veterinary reproductive specialists report that by 7 months the chances are exceedingly low.~Dr. Fiona
Did you know? Dogs with two undescended testicles are called bilateral cryptorchids and they are often sterile. Dogs with just one undescended testicle are instead known as unilateral cryptorchids or monorchids.
Reasons to Neuter
If your puppy’s testicles haven’t descended within a reasonable time frame, it’s important discussing with the vet the importance of having the dog neutered.
If you were planning to breed your dog, consider that a dog with only one undescended testicle (monorchid) is still capable of successfully breeding and siring a litter of puppies. The main problem though is that cryptorchidism is hereditary, and dogs who are cryptorchid should be neutered to prevent from passing on this condition with their genes.
Cryptorchidism in dogs is a sex-limited autosomal recessive trait and both male and female dogs can carry this gene and pass it to their offspring. For this good reason, in the show ring, cryptorchidism in dogs is considered a serious fault that results in an automatic disqualification.
On top of passing this inherited trait, keeping a cryptorchid dog intact predisposes the dog to sertoli cell tumor, a form of dog testicular cancer. It is estimated that cryptorchid dogs are 13 times more likely to develop testicular cancer compared to the average intact dog.
Another complication is the possibility for the undescended testicle to twist inside the abdomen, a condition known as testicular torsion. This condition is very painful and requires an emergency visit for surgical intervention.
Did you know? Dogs that have both testicles undescended tend to be sterile because the higher temperatures in their abdomen prevent the production of sperm, explains veterinarian Dr. Becky Lundgren.
Cryptorchid Dog Surgery
If your puppy is cryptorchid, you may be wondering whether the surgery to remove the retained testicle/testicles will be complicated. Actually, cryptorchid dog surgery generally isn’t as bad as thought. It is similar to spaying a dog, only that instead of removing the ovaries, the retained testicle/testicles are removed.
The retained testicle can be found by the inguinal canal, within the abdominal cavity or under the skin between the inguinal ring and the scrotum, explains Philip A. Bushby, a board, certified veterinary surgeon.
If the testicle is felt by palpation under the subcutaneous tissue or the inguinal area, where the dog’s thigh meets the body, all that’s often needed is a small incision to get it out.
If the testicle though is not found in these areas but rather within the abdominal cavity, the surgery may be a bit more involved considered that the vet will need to make an abdominal incision and search for it, but once found, it is easily removed and dogs usually recover quickly.
Cryptorchid Dog Surgery Cost
How much does it cost to have a cryptorchid dog neutered? The surgery will obviously cost more than the average castration surgery as it is no longer considered a “routine procedure.”
The cost for a dog neuter with undescended testicle may therefore vary from one location to another but generally may amount to anywhere between $150 and $550. Generally, most vet offices charge for the cost of a normal neuter and add an additional $80 to $100 to it for a cryptorchid dog.
It is best to call around to get quotes so to have a better idea of expected costs. Vets often provide rough estimates with the lowest and highest price range considering that they might not know how long and how involved the procedure may be often until they start the procedure. The lowest range should be for neutering an inguinal cryptorchid while the highest range should be for an abdominal cryptorchid.