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Cat Cryptorchidism

Introduction

All male kittens are born with their testicles up in the abdomen. Normally by the time the kitten is 6 weeks old both of the testicles have descended into the scrotal sack. However in the case of cryptorchidism one, or both, of the testicles fail to come down into the scrotal sack and remain in the abdomen. This condition often does not come with any noticeable symptoms, and many owners are unaware that their cat has the condition.

Symptoms & Signs

Symptom of Cryptorchidism

The main symptom of cryptorchidism is failure of the testicle to descend into the scrotum. The pet owner may notice that one side of the scrotal sack is empty and loose, or the owner may notice that the entire scrotal sack looks droopy and empty. Another symptom of cryptorchidism is failure to reproduce; while the cat will still have the same urges to reproduce, the sperm are not able to develop properly if the testicles are in the abdomen. However some cryptorchid cats with only one descended testicle are able to impregnate females.
While the symptoms of cryptorchidism are mild, the condition does carry some dangerous risks. Retained testicles seem to develop testicular diseases at a much higher rate than normal testicles; these diseases can include infection and even cancer. Retained testicles are also at risk for becoming twisted; this condition is known as torsion, and it will result in tissue death and sometimes severe pain.
Cryptorchidism is a genetically inherited disease, and it is highly recommended that cats with this condition be neutered. Both testicles should be removed to prevent additional litters of kittens with the disorder, and to protect the affected cat from developing infections, torsion, and cancer.

Treatment Options

Cryptorchidism, a condition in which one or both of the testicles fails to descend into the scrotal sack, is a rare condition that occurs most often in Persian cats. In most cases, when cryptorchidism does occur in cats, one of the testicles will descend by the time the cat is 6 weeks old, and the other testicle remains within the abdominal area. In extremely rare cases both testicles will fail to descend.

Treating Cryptorchidism in Cats

Cryptorchidism in cats can only be treated by finding and removing the testicle which failed to descend. The testicle can either be located by abdominal palpation, x-ray, or ultrasound. In some cases, the testicle cannot be located until extended and time consuming exploratory surgery is carried out. Either way, the testicle must be removed surgically through the abdomen.
Cats that are not treated for cryptorchidism will begin to develop a lot of unwanted behaviors that are common in non-neutered males. These behaviors include aggression, the tendency to escape or wander, and spraying around the house. Once the testicles are removed, the behavior will stop in a matter of weeks.

Recovery

Cats that undergo surgery to treat cryptorchidism often need much more time to recover than cats that undergo traditional neuter surgeries. It takes time to heal and recover from abdominal surgeries. The cat should be kept in a quiet and secure environment, and children and owners should try to refrain from picking the cat up until the cat has completely recovered.

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