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Dogs

Testicular Cancer In Dogs

Testicular Cancer In Dogs

What Is Testicular Cancer In Dogs?

Testicles are in the top 3 list of most common anatomical site for tumor development in dogs. Testicular cancers are considered very common genital neoplasms among older unneutered male dogs. Actually, up to 30% of intact male dogs will ultimately develop one or more testicular tumors. Overall, they're reported to account for at least 5% percent of all tumors found in male dogs.

Testicular tumors may be either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous) . Malignant tumors of testicles are typically invasive, aggressive and tend to spread. The median age of dogs with testicular cancers is about 10 years. However, they can occur in intact males of any breed and age. The most probable suspects to develop testicular cancer are not the dogs with normal (scrotal) testicles, rather the male dogs that have one or both testicles that have not descended from the belly cavity (cryptorchidism).

The most common testicular malignancies are seminomas, Sertoli cell tumors and Interstitial (Leydig) cell tumors. These cancers comprise of almost 40% of overall testicular cancers in dogs. Other rare types of testicular tumors such as lipoma, hemangioma, fibroma, embryonal carcinoma, teratoma and chondroma. Seminomas are the most common benign testicular tumour in dogs. The interesting thing to note is that both testicles can be cancerous but can have different types of testicular cancer.

Similar to most canine cancers, the etiology of testicular tumors is still unidentified. Though, some of these tumors have been associated with the presence of prostatic disease and cryptorchidism, the contribution of testosterone is conclusive. One of the top five causes of cancer-related deaths in dogs is testicular cancer.

Symptoms Of Testicular Cancer In Dogs

  • Swelling of either or both testicles
  • Hematuria (Blood in the urine)
  • Dysuria/ Stranguria (Difficulty urinating)
  • Frequent attempts to urinate
  • Spermatic cord torsion (a cord supplying blood to the testicle is twisted)
  • Abnormal posture (especially while urinating) / Abnormal gait
  • Enlarged scrotum
  • Testicular atrophy
  • Pain/General weakness
  • Fever
  • Weight loss

Treatment Options For Testicular Cancer In Dogs

Primary tumors (diameter < 3cm): The most appropriate therapy for the non-metastasized primary tumors is local surgical excision. Radiotherapy may be used post-operatively to improve the tumor control.

Primary tumors (> 3cm): When there is no evidence of metastasis, chemotherapy drugs can be used to attempt to shrink the tumor.

IM/IGRTradiation therapy: Image-guided and intensity-modulated radiation therapy is a is a relatively new technique in which high-energy beams of radiation are employed using imaging technologies such as PET, MRI, and CT.

Urinary obstruction: Palliative radiotherapy can be used as short term relief.

Sublumbar lympadenopathy - Surgical removal of enlarged lymph nodes. This is performed in dogs with tumours that have spread only to the regional lymph nodes but no further.

Any significant obstruction of the urethra: To keep open the urethra for urination, a surgical stent is placed.

Home Remedies For Testicular Cancer In Dogs

  • Once the surgery is over, activities of your dog should be restricted for about 2 weeks to allow recuperation and incision healing.
  • A restrictive e-collar can be used for 2 weeks.

How To Prevent Testicular Cancer In Dogs?

The causes for testicular cancer in dogs are mostly idiopathic and geriatric so Prevention is not possible. Neutering the dogs is best way of prevention.

Affected Dog Breeds Of Testicular Cancer

Afghan Hound, Airedale Terrier, Beagle, Boxer, Collie, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, Maltese, Weimaraner, Shetland Sheepdog, Male Dogs

Causes And Prognosis For Testicular Cancer In Dogs

1. Causes:

  • Hereditary
  • Older dogs- male dogs over eight years old
  • Higher in intact dogs
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals (1,4-dichlorobenzene, doxorubicin, phenylbutazone), pesticides and herbicides, nitrosamines, cyclophosphamide, etc

2. Types:

Primary testicular cancer: Cancer that starts off in the testicle region itself is called primary cancer. Most primary cancers are aggressive and are with high metastatic potential.

Secondary testicular cancer: Cancer that originates in another organ and spreads or metastasizes to the testicular region.

3. Mortality:

Benign types of Testicular cancer mortality rate are almost zero. Primary testicular cancer is highly aggressive and it should be diagnosed early as well as treated promptly. Unfortunately, it has high case fatality rate and < 50% of dogs survive more than 6 months from the time of diagnosis of primary types of cancer.

4. Prognosis:

Prognosis can fluctuate depending on the time of diagnosis and severity of the testicular cancer. In general, if the tumor is diagnosed early on, prior to any metastasis, chemotherapy and radiation treatment may be effective. If there is any significant metastasis, vets may suggest against traditional treatment and will provide treatments to pacify the dog’s clinical signs to make them feel better.

When To See A Vet For Testicular Cancer In Dogs?

Contact your vet right away, if you notice any of the following:

  • Swelling of either or both testicles
  • Hematuria (Blood in the urine)
  • Dysuria/ Stranguria (Difficulty urinating)

Food Suggestions For Testicular Cancer In Dogs

  • High Protein, Low Carbs, Good Fats and antioxidants and cancer-fighting nutrients
  • Protein should comprise 40% of dogs’ calories. Fresh, lean protein (Lean white fish such as cod, grouper, haddock, lean cuts of beef, pork loin)
  • Fats: Salmon, herring, mackerel, lake trout, tuna and sardines
  • Vitamin-rich fruits and veggies: Legumes, snap peas, green beans, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, citrus fruits, Blueberries, strawberries, cherries etc

Conclusion

If testicular cancer is detected early, before any metastasis has happened, then survival time can be extended with more definitive treatment. If the cancer has metastasized to distant regions, management of disease symptomatically is often performed as long as possible.

The chances of recovery for metastasized testicular cancer are poor. Once quality of life has declined or clinical signs cannot be controlled, Euthanasia may be required.

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