The Tale of Ol' One Nut: The life of a cryptorchid dog - Dr. Marty Becker

The Tale of Ol’ One Nut: The life of a cryptorchid dog

Friday, Mar 10th, 2017 | By Dr. Marty Becker

I’m a huge fan of asking people the genesis of a pet’s name. A few of my favorites over the years:

Brother. The three girls in the family adopted a male puppy from the shelter. Having always wanted a brother, now they had one.

F.L.E.A. Not named for the blood sucking back biter but for the important role this dog played in a vulnerable college girl’s life. Stands for Faithful, Loving, Exceptional Animal.

11:30. A cat not quite dark enough to be called “Midnight.”

While the three names above required an explanation, I don’t think the male hound dog named “One Nut” really requires the brightest bulb to crack the code. A male dog who has one or both testicles that are not in the scrotum is called a cryptorchid. Other descriptions include retained testicles or undescended testicles. Humor aside, this condition is serious, and a cause for concern and action.

When a puppy is born, the testicles are in the North 40 or the dog’s abdomen, clear up by the kidneys. As the pup ages, the testicles follow a path to the empty scrotum, unless there is a genetic or developmental disorder and one of both end up in the abdomen or just under the skin before the scrotum (called an inguinal cryptorchid). For the medical record, “One Nut’s” nut was out of sight in the abdomen and could not be palpated (felt).

You might think, what does the dog need two testicles for anyway? Isn’t one enough, or is it going to be too expensive to do a cryptorchid surgery and we’ll just leave the little ball of fun that took a detour?

An undescended testicle can cause a range of conditions ranging from testicular torsion (the testicle free floats in the abdomen and can twist on itself; think of a water balloon that you keep spinning, wrapping the cord tighter and tighter; need I say more…ouch!) which is rare, or worst of all, a dramatically increased risk for testicular cancer (normal testicles are in a sack outside of the abdomen so that they stay at a lower temperature; the higher abdominal temperatue is believed to increase the cancer risk).

Because of the health risks and because cryptorchidism is usually a genetic condition and could be passed on, veterinarians recommend the removal of both testicles, which obviously means he’ll be removed from the breeding population.