Orchitis is inflammation of the testes followed by destruction of sperm-producing capacity of the infected testis. It is a fairly common disease which is generally accompanied by epididymitis. Two types of orchites are diagnosed in dogs: bacterial and lymphocytic. In bacterial orchitis, the most common route of infection is via reflux from the bladder. In such cases, E.coli and Proteus vulgaris are the most commonly isolated organisms, while Brucella canis, the causative agent of canine brucellosis, is responsible for a severe form of the disease. Lymphocytic orchitis results from the failure of the animal's immune system to recognize the testis as "self." Eventual destruction of the testis usually follows. The immunologic attack is often triggered following testicular trauma, infection or inflammation. Clinical sign consist of infertility and lack of sperm in the semen, when both testes are involved. Because of the progressive nature of this condition, the prognosis for return of fertility is poor. Affected dogs may have pain, scrotal swelling, lethargy, and are reluctant to stand or walk. Such dogs should be examined by a veterinarian immediately.

Complete resolution or cure of orchitis is rare without removal of the affected tissue. Removal of both testes (bilateral orchiectomy) is the recommended treatment. Unilateral castration, sparing the unaffected testis, may be the only hope of retaining fertility in affected male dogs that have great breeding value, but is not usually recommended. Prognosis is good for dogs not infected with Brucella canis. Antimicrobial drugs alone are rarely effective, but are often included in the treatment regimen.


  1. Clinicopathologic Principles for Veterinary Medicine. Wayne F. Robinson, Clive R. R.
  2. Small animal theriogenology. Margaret V. Root Kustritz
  3. UC Davis Book of Dogs. Mordecai Siegal, Jeffrey E. Barlough, University of California, Davis

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