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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 3028
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
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My 3 year old male retriever mix is experiencing a swollen

Customer Question

Hi there. My 3 year old male retriever mix is experiencing a swollen testicle. One seems to be bigger than the other and harder as well. He hasnt eaten in 4 days or so and is drinking more water than normal. He hasnt seemed to be in pain at all. He doesnt seem interested in licking the area, but he seems to be more lethargic than normal. He is uriniating normally, but since he hasnt eaten, he isnt pooping. He isnt coughing or sneezing or anything like that. I took him to the vet yesterday and the Dr. thinks he has brucellosis, but he hasnt been sexually active as far as I know. He was prescribed doxycycline for his antibiotic and tramadol for the pain that he may be experiencing, she said. I just would like to see if this seems like a possibility, because something just doesnt seem right to me...
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 11 months ago.

Hello, JACustomer. I have been a Veterinary Nurse for over 15 years and would be happy to help you today. I'm reviewing your question right now.

Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 11 months ago.

Based on the information that you shared, it seems to me as though your vet is giving you the right direction to go with treatment and also possible diagnoses. This is one of the hazards that goes along with owning an intact dog: sometimes testicular issues can arise. What he is experiencing now is known as Orchiditis, or inflammation of the testes (unilateral, in this case). Treatment for brucellosis is wise even if trauma or other ailment is suspected. If you want to be sure, you can request that your vet perform a blood test to determine if this is the cause. We can also see an acute onset of idiopathic epididymitis (which may or may not be linked to breeding, and it sounds like he's not had access to any females.) You should know soon if the doxycycline will work to cure his symptoms. If not, your vet may recommend further diagnostics and possibly even referring you to a specialist for an ultrasound or biopsy of the testicle.

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Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Yea she took blood from him at the vet yesterday. I guess as I thought about it more, it just seemed like a far stretch with him not being around any females, for him to have what is essentially a STD. Based on the info you have, (and if you need more, let me know) how serious of a condition is he in at the moment? It seems like brucellosis isnt curable. Is that an issue looking forward? I asked the vet if it would be possible to skip the meds and go straight to getting him fixed and she said that it would be a bad idea to do so before getting him back to normal. Does that sound normal to you as well, or should I have been given that option?
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 11 months ago.

You'll need to work on getting him eating again and some NSAIDs and pain medication may be useful for that. Although he doesn't seem painful, testicular swelling can be very uncomfortable and might have something to do with why he has been lethargic and avoiding food.

If blood work was drawn, do you know if your vet is testing for brucellosis or just performing the standard panel of blood work?

I don't believe he's in a critical situation right now, not to the point where he'd need to be hospitalized. I think home care with antibiotics is a suitable start.

Curing brucellosis is unlikely, you are correct. Going forward, you certainly would want to have him neutered so as not to put other dogs at risk in the unlikely event that he bred one of them.

Your vet has educated you correctly regarding just doing surgery to neuter him as we never put ill animals under anesthesia if it can be avoided. Not only are they more likely to have complications, but their recovery time post-op will be delayed during which time even more problems can arise.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I believe she drew for a panal as well as for brucellosis. She took 2 vials so Im pretty sure that was the case. I most likely will find out mid-week about the blood work, but I just wanted to make sure that the vet was on the right track. It was the first time seeing this vet so I dont have a relationship with her as of yet. Moving forward, what can I expect if he ends up testing positive for brucellosis? What are the chances he would have enlarged testicles and not have brucellosis? What would cause enlarged testicles if it wasnt brucellosis?
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 11 months ago.

It sounds to me like they're on the right track and educating you properly. I understand your hesitation with a new vet, I think that happens to the majority of us.

I think you're at least 50/50 for swollen testicles with or without brucellosis. It is one of our more major concerns because of the implications it can have for breeding adults, especially the female (aborting full litters of puppies, for example). There are plenty of other things that can cause swollen testicles, too, that may not be connected to this. Even though you've never witnessed your pup breeding, if he spends any time away from you and you cannot be 100% sure your vet is doing the right thing by making doubly sure that this is not the case. We'd certainly want to rule out the worst case scenarios first, right? That's what your vet is working to do with the antibiotic therapy and blood work.

Although he's young, we can see tumors in the testicles, as well as infections that aren't related to brucellosis, swelling of the epididymis due to infection, etc. That's where the information above comes in regarding biopsy and ultrasound to see if there is something going on inside of or around the testicle that we cannot appreciate from the outside with palpation alone.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Alright, that makes sense i guess. Any advice on trying to get him to eat? He has to be the pickiest retriever/lab mix in the world. He is never excited to eat and while he does eat 4 cups of food a day, he does it on his own schedule and like a poodle haha. His food has been out since he stopped eating and he sniffs it every once in a while, but never goes for it. Its tough with him also because he cant have any food with even chicken meal or chicken byproducts in it
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 11 months ago.

Was what he eating full time before this all started?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Blue buffalo basics beef
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 11 months ago.

If he can't have chicken, try cooking some ground beef or ground turkey. You can also add a little low fat cream cheese or cottage cheese for palatability.

Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 11 months ago.

Checking in, JACustomer. I didn't hear back from you yesterday. How is your companion?