Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

Testicular Cancer in Dogs

If your adult dog is an unneutered male, testicular cancer is a serious health problem to be on the lookout for. What are the signs of testicular cancer in dogs? Can the condition be prevented? How is it treated? Read on to find out.

Causes of Testicular Cancer in Dogs

The precise cause of testicular cancer is unknown, however, most testicular tumors are seen in older, unneutered male dogs. Other risk factors for these tumors include:

  • Undescended testicles (cryptorchidism)
  • Conditions that cause hormonal imbalances
  • Breed type

Breeds that face an increased risk of developing testicular tumors include boxers, German shepherds, collies, Shetland sheepdogs and Weimaraners.

How Common is Testicular Cancer in Dogs

It is estimated that about 27% of intact male dogs will develop testicular tumors in their lifetime. In dogs with undescended testicles, prevalence is significantly higher.

Symptoms of Testicular Cancer in Dogs

Most dogs show no obvious signs of testicular cancer, but when symptoms do emerge they may include:

  • Enlarged testicles
  • Firm or irregular mass
  • Enlarged mammary glands
  • Hair loss
  • Discomfort, licking repeated around the scrotum
  • Uncharacteristic irritability
  • Decreased appetite or weight loss
  • Anemia
  • Lethargy

Three Types of Testicular Tumors in Dogs

The three most common types of testicular tumors are:

  • Seminomas that develop from the cells that make sperm (germ cells)
  • Interstitial tumors that develop from the cells that produce testosterone (Leydig cells)
  • Sertoli cell tumors that develop from the cells that help in the development of sperm (Sertoli cells)

Other types of tumors may develop from other cells within the testicles, but these types are rare.

All male dogs over the age of seven face an increased risk of developing testicular tumors. However, cryptorchid dogs with testicles that have not descended have a much higher risk of developing testicular tumors, particularly Sertoli cell tumors and seminomas.

Diagnosing Testicular Cancer in Dogs

If your vet suspects that your dog has a testicular tumor they will perform a thorough physical examination focusing on the testicles and surrounding areas. An ultrasound may be recommended to allow your vet to assess the internal structures of the testicles and to look for abnormalities.

If your dog has undescended testicles an ultrasound may be performed if other symptoms are present.

Blood tests may also be done to look for markers of testicular cancer, and to provide insights into your dog's overall health. 

In some cases, the veterinarian may take a sample of the area through a biopsy or fine needle aspiration. This will allow for an in-depth examination of the tissue, to identify the type of tumor.

Treatment of Testicular Tumors in Dogs

Castration is the treatment most often recommended for dogs with testicular tumors. Although the most common testicular cancers have a low risk of spreading, removing the testicles further reduces the risk.

In cases where the cancer has spread, (or originated in another part of the body), chemotherapy or radiation may be recommended. 

Prognosis for Dogs with Testicular Cancer

Your dog's prognosis largely depends upon the type of tumor your dog has developed and whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Most testicular tumors in dogs are benign and the prognosis is good following surgery. If the tumor is malignant, the prognosis may still be good if the tumor is caught early, before spreading, and surgery is performed right away. If the cancer has already spread the prognosis is guarded and more aggressive treatments may be required.

Preventing Your Dog from Developing Testicular Tumors

Neutering your dog at a young age is the easiest way to prevent testicular tumors from developing. This common surgery also offers other benefits such as curbing undesirable behaviors (ie: dog aggression, roaming and humping) and helping to reduce the number of homeless dogs in your area.

Taking your dog in for regular checkups can help to ensure that any symptoms are spotted right away and addressed immediately. Early detection of abnormalities gives your dog an excellent chance at a good treatment outcome.

Be especially mindful of your dog's testicular health if your pup is an intact male. Monitor your dog for any signs of testicular tumors or other illnesses. Pet parents should be vigilant for signs of any illnesses. The sooner developing conditions are diagnosed the easier they tend to be to treat. Early diagnosis and treatment not only give your dog their best shot at a full recovery, they could also save you money in the long run. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Our Gillette veterinarians can help you safeguard your dog's good health. Contact Red Hills Veterinary Hospital today to book a checkup for your loyal companion.

New Patients Welcome

Red Hills Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Gillette companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact Us

Book Online (307) 696-2525