Cryptorchidism | German Shepherd
Derived from the Greek words crypto – meaning “hidden” and orchid – referring to the male testicles – cryptorchidisim is a congenital condition that, while not serious, could compromise your dog's chances at being considered “breed standard” in show. When German Shepherd dogs are born with cryptorchidism, either one or both testicles fail to descend into the scrotum area after developing in the dog's abdomenal area. The causes of cryptorchidism tend to be genetic – meaning that your German Shepherd dog has probably inherited the disease from one or both of his parents. To avoid getting a dog with cryptorchidism, make sure you buy your German Shepherd dog from a reliable breeder who actively avoids spreading mutations within his or her population.
If you have adopted your German Shepherd dog from a rescue shelter, and he is missing both of his testicles, it is possible that he has been castrated at birth, rather than suffering from cryptorchidism, as in some cases of cryptorchidism it is possible for German Shepherd dogs to have both testicles undescended. It is not uncommon for owners to be unaware that the problem of cryptorchidism exists in their German Shepherd dog, and thus to spend many years not noticing the issue until it is brought to their attention by a veterinarian.
Luckily, cryptorchidism does not present immediate health problems or threats to German Shepherd dogs. However, it is highly advisable to have the undescended testicle removed as soon as possible from the abdomenal tissue, as the presence of the testicle does increase your German Shepherd dog's risk of cancer or other illnesses later in life. It is also highly recommended that you neuter your dog so that the crytorchidism does not spread into the next generation of German Shepherd puppies. This should be a simple procedure performed by a veterinarian.