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Testicular Swelling in Dogs

Epididymitis/Orchitis in Dogs

Epididymitis refers to the inflammation of the tube where sperm is stored, while orchitis denotes inflammation of the testes themselves. While the condition can become chronic, acute forms, often resulting from direct trauma to the scrotum, are more prevalent. Epididymitis commonly afflicts dogs, typically manifesting in their adult years, with the average age of onset being four years old. The likelihood of a dog being affected is not determined by its breed.


The symptoms of epididymitis and orchitis typically manifest in the vicinity of the scrotum. These may include:

  • Enlarged testicles
  • Excessive licking of the scrotum and irritation of scrotal skin (dermatitis)
  • Generalized symptoms such as pain and fever
  • Reluctance to walk and overall lethargy
  • Presence of open wounds
  • Decreased appetite is often observed
  • Infertility is a frequent occurrence in dogs affected by this condition


The acute onset of this condition is commonly attributed to scrotal trauma. Additionally, epididymitis and orchitis can be instigated by infectious agents and other factors, including viral sources such as distemper, infections linked to prostate inflammation (prostatitis), and inflammation of the bladder (cystitis). Bite wounds occurring anywhere on the body can also contribute to the development of epididymitis or orchitis.


Your vet will conduct a comprehensive physical examination of your dog, considering the history of symptoms and any potential incidents that may have contributed to its onset. Other possible causes of the aforementioned symptoms include scrotal hernia, scrotal dermatitis, spermatic cord torsion, inflamed tissue mass filled with sperm (granuloma), fluid-filled sacs on the spermatic cord (hydrocele), prostatitis, cystitis, and abnormal cell growth (neoplasia). Before initiating treatment, all these conditions must be ruled out.

In cases of infectious orchitis, white blood cell counts may be elevated. If prostatitis or cystitis is suspected, a urinalysis may reveal blood, pus, or elevated protein levels in the urine. Antibody testing can help identify any infectious organisms responsible. Ultrasounds of the prostate, testes, and epididymis may also be conducted to eliminate other potential causes.

If there’s an open wound, it should be examined for bacterial infection, and a bacterial culture may be taken from the prostate and testicular fluid. Semen analysis should also be performed.


The treatment approach hinges on whether your dog is intended for breeding purposes. If so, and if the issue affects only one testicular side (unilateral), partial castration might be considered. However, if both sides are affected or if breeding isn’t a consideration, full castration is usually advised.

Furthermore, your dog should receive antibiotic therapy for a minimum of three weeks. Nevertheless, solely relying on antibiotic treatment may not always yield improvement.

Living and Management

The condition itself or castration, even if unilateral, can lead to permanent infertility. It’s important to have your dog’s semen viability checked three months after treatment.


Timely treatment of wounds and measures to prevent infections serve as the most effective strategies against epididymitis and orchitis. Maintaining your dog’s overall health and scheduling regular veterinary visits for progress checks are also important preventive measures.

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