Checking your Dog for Testicular Cancer
Updated: November 21st, 2019
One for the Boys
Intact males (those who have not been neutered) may, in later years be more prone to bladder, prostate or testicular cancer. Dr. Ettinger’s post “Spay/neuter and the association with cancer in dogs: part one” discusses the pros and cons of neutering in more detail, and is a wonderful read.
When my senior boy approached his 12th birthday we had already experienced the loss of his friend to a different cancer the previous year. It was devastating, but it made us smarter. By reading The Dog Cancer Survival Guide I learned the early signs of many cancers, so I could guard against them. Because our boy had never been snipped, I shared my concerns with my vet and asked whether I should watch for signs. He replied “Absolutely. Check the consistency of his testicles (testes) and the shape of his poo”.
Excuse me? But yes, an early sign of any internal growths within the rectum is when the feces take on a flattened shape as the substance makes its way out of the body. And the testes? Pre-cancerous conditions are often found when one or both start to harden or change shape.
Upon learning this, my partner and I looked at each other, paused a moment, and decided. “You watch the poo, I’ll check the rest” I said. My vet showed me what the healthy testicle should feel like on my dog. The tissue of both testes should feel like a very firm grape with the same texture throughout. There is however a natural, harder part at one end of each teste, which is meant to be there, so I was glad I had expert instruction.
I began the regular practice of checking his “bits” in the privacy of our home. And although it seemed sort of funny, and we didn’t really talk about it at dinner parties, a few months later I was glad I didn’t shirk from the rather weird task. One day I discovered that one of my dog’s testes had started to feel more solid than before, and different to the other teste. We took him to our vet who confirmed “yes, time to have those off”. We detected the cancer sign early and got rid of it for our dog’s 12th birthday. (Sorry boy!) I might add, he just celebrated his 16th birthday, and we’re pretty sure that without that early detection it might have been a different story.
What to Do If You Find a Bump or Lump on Your Dog:
Are you confused about when, and when not to sterilize your dog? Dr. Dressler helps to clarify this topic in his informative, “Can We Prevent Dog Cancer?” seminar. Get your copy today!
When you’re belly rubbing, don’t leave any stone unturned, as they say. Your male dog will honestly not mind, and it’s up to you whom you tell about it. If you find a lump, hard area or any changes, make that appointment with your vet as soon as possible. Get it checked, ruled out or confirmed. If surgery is indicated it is a much less invasive procedure than some others, and your dog will barely know anything changed. We were so happy to have caught a potential problem with our boy as soon as it developed.
I’m a member of the Dog Cancer Support Team & a Dog Cancer Survivor! Two of my beloved dogs have had cancer, and with the Dog Cancer Survival Guide, Apocaps, and full spectrum help given with boundless love, both our dogs far surpassed the odds we were given. I’m an Animal Health Consultant with a Diploma in Animal Healing, and Assistant Instructor with the Healing Animals Organization (MHAO). I’m passionate to help dogs and their people get through this journey. Early on I asked the Team how I could help, and here I am.
Thanks for a wonderful article. I have a 14 year old intact Male Shepherd. Yesterday at his routine check up the vet noticed that one of his testicles were larger than the other. He said his hunch was that it was probably cancer. My dog has been through a lot spinal surgery and shoulder displacement repair 2 years ago and he’s been a trooper. I’m torn I don’t want to take him through much more as I understand to diagnose the testicle has to be removed correct? What would you recommend for a dog at this age that has weathered so many storms. Any feedback is appreciated.
Thanks for writing. Choosing a treatment plan for your dog can be a hard decision, as there are so many factors that you have to take into consideration. You also have to factor in your guardian type– do you want your boy to be as comfortable as possible? Are you okay with handling the side effects of particular treatments? How important is quality of life? Do you think he would be the same after surgery? Do you think he would be able to handle another surgery?
It’s a lot of questions, but you have to ask yourself these, and many more, when making a decision. Here’s a link to an article on guardian types that you may find helpful: https://www.dogcancerblog.com/blog/why-your-personality-is-so-important-to-your-dog-with-cancer/
You may also find this article on Dog Prostate Cancer to be helpful as well 🙂
As Dr. D writes in the Dog Cancer Survival Guide, there are a number of treatment options (besides surgery, chemo and radiation) in the Full Spectrum Cancer Care that you could consider, under your vet’s supervision– Nutraceuticals, Diet, Brain Chemistry Modification, and Immune System Boosters and Anti-Metastics 🙂
We were unable to find any writings by Dr. D on diagnosing testicular cancer in particular, so this might be a good question to ask your vet 🙂
June 24, 2018, I have a small dog about 6 or 7 yrs. old. We got him as a rescue and he was already fixed. We’ve had him now going on 4 yrs. A few days ago i noticed a lump on his belly about the size of a quarter and hard close to his penis. But as soon as he moved it disappeared. I’ve seen it once more but again before I can get a picture or show my husband the dog moves and the lump disappears. I have gently felt his tummy but found nothing. Since he’s been spayed he shouldn’t have any testicle tumors but this lump is rather large and hard to the touch. My husband is not worried but I am. The fact that it keeps disappearing is another great concern. Any comments or help is appreciated.
Hello Carolyn, thanks for writing! Discovering lumps on our dogs can be quite scary. The best thing we can do as pet guardians is not to panic 🙂 In the article below, Dr. Sue suggests that if you’re dog has a lump larger than 1cm or has been there for over a month, go see your veterinarian and get the lump checked!
Here’s the link: https://www.dogcancerblog.com/blog/lumps-on-dogs-when-to-get-them-checked-by-a-veterinarian/
You may also find this video helpful:
We hope this helps! 🙂