Our feline friend from A Complicated Matter: Locating a Rogue Testicle had exploratory surgery today. He was not amendable to a thorough physical exam prior to surgery but once he was under anesthesia, the usual locations for a rogue testicle were inspected before making an abdominal incision. The likelihood the testicle had arrived in the scrotum was slim to none and, as expected, the scrotal sac was empty. However, another common location called the inguinal ring yielded a full-sized testicle!
When the testicle descends during development, it travels from the caudal pole of the kidney, down a ligamentous pathway called the gubernaculum, through a pelvic and muscular channel called the inguinal canal or ring, and into the scrotum. In our friend, the cryptorchid testicle was most likely trapped in the canal and could not be palpated externally or internally during the original abdominal explore. With time, growth, and a little luck, the testicle emerged from the canal and could be removed via a relatively non-invasive skin incision.
The story doesn’t end with surgery. Tackling the inappropriate elimination issue is key! I’m looking forward to a happy ending.