How to Tell If a Dog Was Neutered

Fluffy corgi puppy looks back
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It's common for most pet owners to spay or neuter their newest edition. The process seems straightforward but what if you take your male dog in to be neutered, and after he is back home, it appears that the testicles are still there! Did your vet forget to finish the job or is something else going on? Learn the answer to this common question, why it may happen, and if you should be concerned.

What May Happen After Neutering

It's highly unlikely that your vet would actually forget to neuter your pet.

However, the healing process may temporarily make it look like that's what happened. In a dog neuter surgery, also called castration, the scrotum (sac containing the testicles) is not usually removed. The incision is made just in front of the scrotum. There are some medical conditions that warrant removal of the scrotal tissue, but that is not the norm.

The most common reason a dog may appear as if the testicles were not removed is that there is some post-op bleeding and a small clot has formed inside the scrotum. Swelling of the scrotal and adjacent tissues, either from surgery or post-op licking by the patient, can also add to the appearance.

This is not usually a big deal. Swelling should resolve within a few days. Physical activity and licking should be kept to a minimum, and for the persistent lickers, an e-collar may be necessary to prevent problems such as infection and premature suture removal by the patient.

When It Is Something To Worry About

The incision should not be actively weeping when you pick up your pet up. Most veterinarians schedule a discharge appointment to go over post-op instructions and care of your dog, including a peek at the incision to make sure everything is OK. If you notice bleeding or seeping after you are home, call your veterinarian or the emergency service for advice.

If your dog is continually licking the incision, speak to your vet sooner rather than later about ways to stop licking. Left unattended, dogs will inflame the skin and remove any sutures they can get to. This is something you want to prevent. Licking can also increase the chance of infection. 

If after a day or so the scrotum is very swollen (turgid) and not stabilizing/shrinking, call your veterinarian as soon as possible to rule out an active internal bleeding situation.

Finally, if the scrotal tissue and/or skin around the incision is red, swollen, extra warm to the touch or weeping with a discharge of any color, please call your veterinarian to re-examine and make sure an infection isn't present. 

Note: For dogs that are cryptorchid, where one or both testicles do not descend into the scrotum, they stay in the abdominal cavity, there will also be an incision on the belly, similar to a spay surgery to find and remove the abdominal testicle(s). You should care for this incision the same way you did for the one on the ​scrotum.