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Small Sized Testes in Dogs

Testicular Degeneration and Hypoplasia in Dogs

Small-sized testes in dogs can be indicative of testicular degeneration or hypoplasia. Hypoplasia refers to the underdevelopment or incomplete development of the testes, resulting in smaller-than-normal size and an inability to mature appropriately. On the other hand, testicular degeneration involves the loss of potency after puberty.

These conditions can either be congenital, present at birth, or occur due to factors post-birth. Congenital forms are often linked to genetic abnormalities inherited from the parent, but exposure to radioactive substances while in utero can also be a cause.

While dogs of any age or breed can be affected, hypoplasia is more commonly observed in young dogs, whereas degeneration tends to occur in older dogs.


Symptoms and types of small-sized testes in dogs include infertility as the predominant indicator. The most common symptom observed is abnormally small testes. Semen analysis typically reveals either a low sperm count (oligospermia) or a complete absence of sperm (azoospermia) in the seminal fluid.


The causes of small-sized testes in dogs encompass various factors:

  • Degeneration of the testicular sacs
  • Exposure to radiation
  • Metal toxicity, such as lead poisoning
  • Chemical toxicity from various substances
  • Other toxins affecting testicular health
  • Exposure to high temperatures
  • Orchitis, which is inflammation of the testes
  • Hormonal imbalances impacting testicular function
  • Advancing age
  • Adverse reactions to drugs like antifungal medications
  • Hypoplasia, a condition of underdeveloped testes
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Injury or trauma to the testicular region
  • Tumors of the pituitary gland


Diagnosing these conditions in dogs typically begins with a visit to the veterinarian due to concerns about infertility. Providing a comprehensive history, including any previous instances of similar problems within the dog’s familial lineage and any scrotal trauma or injury, is crucial.

During the examination, the veterinarian will carefully inspect the scrotal region to determine if the testes are of normal size or smaller than expected based on the dog’s breed, size, and age. An abnormal size prompts further investigation to differentiate between testicular degeneration and hypoplasia. Ultrasound imaging is commonly used to confirm visual observations of smaller-than-normal testes.

Additionally, the veterinarian will collect a semen sample for laboratory analysis to assess for abnormal cell development and perform a standard sperm count. If deemed necessary, a small tissue sample may be obtained from the testicular sac using a fine needle for further evaluation in the laboratory.


The treatment approach relies on identifying the underlying cause of degeneration or hypoplasia. Hormonal therapy has been utilized in animals diagnosed with these conditions, with reported outcomes varying. Your veterinarian will discuss potential treatment options for your dog’s future fertility based on the diagnosed condition. However, treatment may not be feasible in all cases, necessitating appropriate diagnostic tests beforehand.

If treatment is deemed feasible, follow-up appointments will involve periodic semen analyses to monitor the effectiveness of the therapy.

Living and Management

There are no specific home care recommendations for dogs diagnosed with testicular hypoplasia or degeneration. Additional laboratory testing during the treatment period may be necessary, depending on the veterinarian’s diagnosis and treatment plan.

Dogs with hypoplasia typically have a low likelihood of becoming fertile, while dogs with testicular degeneration may have slightly better chances, although successful breeding outcomes are generally poor. The prognosis varies based on the underlying cause and the dog’s response to treatment.

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