Retained Testicles in Cats and Kittens
At the time of adoption or perhaps during your first visit to the veterinary clinic with your male kitten, you may be informed that your new family member has a condition called cryptorchidism. Not to worry! Veterinarians are familiar with cryptorchidism—the failure of one or both of the testicles to descend into the scrotum—and understand the medical implications of the condition. They will help guide you through the process of proper diagnosis and treatment.
The inability to palpate the testicles in the scrotal sack by the age of 6 months is the primary symptom of cryptorchidism. If your cat is older and appears to have been neutered but has the strong odor of urine about him, this may be a sign that his testicles never descended and were never surgically removed. All breeds are susceptible to this condition.
Present at birth, cryptorchidism can be diagnosed through physical exam and, if necessary, ultrasound. If your veterinarian is unable to feel the presence of the retained testicle(s) in the groin or abdomen, they will likely suggest an abdominal ultrasound to confirm the location of the testicle(s).
The recommended treatment for cryptorchidism is to have your kitten neutered. Castration of both testicles, even if one has descended and the other is retained, is recommended. It is thought that the condition may be inherited and, if untreated, can lead to future medical issues. Neutering your pet will reduce future health issues for him and will prevent perpetuation of the condition.
Your veterinarian may recommend the following tests for diagnosing and treating this condition:
- A testosterone blood test to confirm that the testicles are present and producing testosterone
- Chemistry tests, a complete blood count (CBC), and electrolyte testing as preanesthetic testing prior to surgery
Once the neuter surgery is behind your kitty, any worries you may have had about cryptorchidism will be a thing of the past!
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.