Normally lively and full of beans, a very subdued Max came in to 387 Vets because he was showing obvious signs of abdominal pain. He had also vomited several times and was refusing to eat. When he didn’t respond to initial treatment and we couldn’t find any abnormalities on x- rays or in blood tests, we performed exploratory surgery to investigate the source of the pain.

We already knew that Max had a retained testicle (he only had one testicle in his scrotum) but during surgery, we were very surprised to find that it had twisted round on itself (torsed), thus causing Max’s condition.  Testicular torsion is so uncommon, it was the first time Hamish had seen a case in over 14 years of practice.

Can a twisted testis be left in situ?

Unfortunately the answer is no. As well as being 14 times more likely to become cancerous, retained testicles are also much more likely to suffer from torsion – the twisting of the testicle around on its venous vasculature (or blood supply cord) and as in Max’s case, this causes immense physical distress. Twisting of the venous vessels prevents blood from leaving the testicle, though blood can still enter because of high arterial pressure. As a result, the testis becomes heavily engorged, bruised and very painful. In fact, the pain can be so intense it can elicit a state of shock or collapse.  It was important for Hamish to remove Max’s irreparably damaged testis to avoid any further discomfort.


The photographs above show the swollen, blood-filled testicle during surgery, and afterwards, alongside a normal testicle.

After gentle recuperation, we’re delighted to report Max is now fully recovered and back to his bouncy self!