1018. An undescended testicle becomes a large tumour
I was happy to see the two sisters again after over 5 years. One was taller and slimmer. Their male 10-year-old terrier X had one fast-growing large lump on the left inguinal area. The other undescended testicle was smaller and normal in size.
"Why didn't you get the dog neutered when he was young?" I asked. "Undescended testicles are known to become cancerous in older dogs and men, like the famous cyclist. Now it is a gigantic tumour. Since it grows so fast within a month to become bigger than a hen's egg, it is likely to be cancerous. There is a high anaesthetic risk when an old dog goes under general anaesthesia resulting in death on the operating table."
"We did not think about it," the elder sister said. "Is it OK to do the surgery now?"
"Take a blood test to screen his health," I advised. "In any case, you have no choice but to get the massive testicular tumour taken out because the cells will rot as they expand in size, causing much pain. The dog will lick the area till the skin becomes thin and the rotting tumour drops out. Now he is licking his penile tip which is red."
The owners brought the dog in because the dog kept licking his penile tip. A blood test showed abnormally high SGOT, around 8 X higher. The dog was scheduled for surgery after one day of antibiotics and painkillers.
"How do you know it is a testicular tumour?" Dr Daniel asked me as part of a discussion on this case. He would be thinking of an inguinal hernia which is more common a condition in this belly location called "inguinal".
"It is hard and firm and does not go back into the abdomen unlike an inguinal hernia," I explained my diagnosis of the undescended testicle becoming a large tumour.
The dog was neutered by Dr Daniel and went home in the evening. The sisters agreed to get the large tumour analysed by the laboratory to check whether it is cancerous or not. As for the high SGOT levels, it is hard to say whether this increase in enzymes is due to the testicular tumour or that the liver is affected. A blood test one month later will be useful to check whether the cells have gone back to normal levels and this would indicate that the cause of the rise is due to the testicular tumour. An educational video is being produced.
UPDATE ON JUL 17, 2013. I phoned the owner. The mother replied saying the dog is OK and asked whether the testicular cancer has spread to other parts of the body. I told her it is not likely based on the histology report of the cancer being confined inside the tunica. The epididymis is "unremarkable" according to the report. Sertoli cell tumours can metastasize but not all do so. This case appeared to be operated early and so there was no spread of the cancer cells to other parts of the testes esp. the epididymis and to the vas deferens. For the mother, I just told her that the cancer had not spread and this was good news for a family who loved this old dog.
ANOTHER OLD MALE DOG HAS TESTICULAR TUMOUR
6281 - 6282. Testicular tumour in an old Westie. After neutering, the Westie no longer licks the swollen belly area till it becomes black
CONCLUSION Many Singapore dog owners do not wish to neuter their male dogs even if they have undescended testicles which have a high probablility of becoming cancerous. Check your old male dogs weekly to ensure no testicular tumours develop. Early detection and neutering save the dog's life as the cancerous cells may kill your dog.