Testicular tumors are common tumors that grow on or in the testes of
non-neutered male dogs.
The reason for the development of testicular tumors is still unknown—but studies show that dogs with a testicle that has not fully descended (cryptorchid) are more likely to develop the tumors. They're also more common in older dogs.
There are three distinct types of testicular tumors, and they can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous):
- Interstitial Cell Tumors: These are the least likely of all forms of testicular tumors to be malignant.
- Seminoma: In approximately 10% of cases, seminoma tumors are malignant.
- Sertoli Cell Tumors: These tumors are the most likely to be malignant, and they occur in approximately 15% of cases.
Know the warning signs
It may be difficult for you to notice if your dog has developed testicular tumors. That's why it's important that your Shepherd have his yearly physical, complete with blood tests and urinalysis (urine tests). However, if you notice any of the following symptoms, see your vet right away:
- Soft or firm swellings in one or both testicles
- Single enlarged testicle or asymmetric testicles
- Generalized scrotal enlargement
- Infertility in the breeding stud dog
Treatment options vary
Normally, a dog that has developed a testicular tumor will have to be castrated (the surgical removal of his testicles). This is to prevent the cancer from spreading. If the cancer has spread, your vet may attempt to control further growth through chemotherapy or radiation treatment.
The simplest way to prevent your dog from developing testicular tumors is by having him neutered when he is a puppy. The removal of a dog's testicles will eliminate the risk of him ever developing the disease. If you never plan to breed your German Shepherd, this one step can help guarantee a longer, healthier life.