Five health conditions that are unique to male dogs
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Five health conditions that are unique to male dogs

Dogs
Health & Safety

One of the key questions that you will need to consider when buying or adopting a new dog or puppy is whether you prefer a male or female dog, and of course, some people have no preference at all. Both sexes have their upsides and downsides, and it is important to find out about these in depth when taking on a new dog, which also includes looking into the various temperament and behavioural differences between the sexes, and finding out about any specific health problems that the dog may potentially face.

While future potential health issues in the dog can best be assessed by looking at the hereditary health of the breed line and any breed specific health issues that they face, male and female dogs also have obvious anatomical differences, which means that some health conditions will only affect female dogs, while others will only affect males.

In this article, we will look at five health conditions that are unique to male dogs. Read on to learn more.

Entire or neutered

Neutering the male dog can reduce the likelihood of the dog developing certain gender-specific issues later in life, such as certain types of cancers and problems with the reproductive system. Making the decision about whether or not to neuter your dog is a key factor of ownership, and if you do not intend to breed from your dog, neutering is the responsible choice.

1. Cryptorchidism

Cryptorchidism is the term used to refer to a testicle that does not descend normally, instead being retained inside the body of the dog. Either one or both testicles may be affected, and if left as they are, this can cause a range of problems. Partially descended testicles are another related issue, although dogs whose testicles are retained or partially retained within the abdominal cavity can usually be neutered and the testes removed, but this process is of course more complex and involved than normal neutering.

Dogs that have retained testicles that are not removed stand a higher chance of developing testicular cancer in later life.

2. Testicular tumours

There are a reasonably wide range of different types of tumours that can affect the testicles, and which may be either malignant or benign. Neutering the dog greatly reduces the likelihood of their developing testicular tumours, but in some cases, even neutered dogs may suffer from problems with the testes and surrounding area.

The main symptoms of testicular tumours include swollen and painful testicles, and sometimes visible signs of trauma or problems. For unneutered dogs, neutering will generally remove the tumour as well as the testicles, and this is in fact the only recognised treatment for testicular cancer in entire male dogs.

3. Hormonal problems

The male hormone testosterone is an essential element for healthy growth and normal development, and male dogs should not be neutered until testosterone production has begun, as this is necessary to support a wide range of bodily functions.

However, unneutered male dogs can suffer from high testosterone levels, which can in turn lead to behavioural issues such as aggression, inappropriate sexual behaviour, roaming and straying, and scent marking.

Neutering your dog when they are of the appropriate age can prevent these problems from developing, and neutering later on may also have a marked positive effect on the dog’s behaviour too.

4. Prostate problems

Prostate cancer and prostate enlargement is one of the most common health issues found in entire male dogs, and it should not be understated how painful issues like these can be for your dog. An enlarged prostate can cause issues including painful urination and defecation, discharge from the penis, and an increased risk of developing infections and cysts.

Again, neutering can help to prevent problems such as these from arising, or resolve problems in the mature, unneutered dog. Neutering stops the body’s production of testosterone, causing the prostate gland to shrink back to a normal size, improving the efficacy of other treatments.

Prostate cancers too are almost unique to unneutered male dogs, and so early prevention by means of neutering can greatly reduce the risk of cancer developing.

5. Paraphimosis

Paraphimosis is a unique male dog problem that causes the penis to remain stuck outside of its sheath, unable to retract normally back into the body. This is caused by prolonged erection, during which the bulbourethral gland on the penis of the dog swells up, narrowing the sheath and making normal retraction impossible. The subsequent lack of lubrication that occurs to the exposed penis further complicates the problem.

Correction of the issue involves veterinary sedation and lubricating the external part of the penis in order to allow it to be manually retracted into the sheath. This issue is understandably just as unpleasant for your dog as it sounds, and if left untreated, can lead to a loss of circulation and permanent damage to the penis itself.

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