Jake came for a free rabbit health check as part of our Rabbit Awareness Week (RAW) promotion in May, and it was during this consultation that we found he had a testicular tumour. One of his testicles was very large – very obviously so to the naked eye – and his other testicle had shrunk considerably. This commonly happens, as a result of excessive hormone production by the over-sized tumorous testicle.
Jake’s swollen tumorous testicle alongside his other shrunken testicle, which has been compromised by the excessive hormone levels produced by its over-sized partner.
There are three different types of testicular tumour, depending on which part of the testicle is affected. All interfere with normal testicular function, invade or compromise the normal testicular tissue and can produce high levels of hormones.
Most testicular tumours are benign (non-cancerous). It is important, nevertheless, that these are removed: to confirm they are not malignant (cancerous), and to stop further growth, which can be physically invasive and painful, especially if the tumour becomes ulcerated.
Those that are malignant can spread throughout the body and can therefore be ultimately fatal. These tumours are less common in rabbits than in dogs. Testicular tumours in domestic cats are very rare. This is because most are neutered, given their roaming nature, the ethical issues of trying to control the stray cat problem and the strong smell that entire male cats have.
As well as preventing testicular tumours, castration can improve behavioural issues. Entire rabbits, in particular, can be very ‘randy’ and will often try to mate with anything and everything. Castration stops this unwanted behaviour by removing the hormone, testosterone, that drives the desire.
We are delighted Jake is now fully fit again and enjoying the summer weather.