CRYPTORCHIDISM IN ALPACAS
Your dam has given birth to a male but, his scrotum looks lopsided. Cryptorchidism is when the male testes fails to descend into the scrotum.
This condition is present at birth. It can be one side or the other or both testicles do not descend. The left side seems to be affected more often.
This defect is not very common in alpacas, but it happens. So, just be aware and examine your male crias for this defect. It probably will never happen on your farm but, knowing about this problem will help you recognize it and deal with it if it does happen.
Chances are that if the testes is not present at birth, it will not descend later. A vet needs to evaluate this animal.
The undescended testes, in general, is underdeveloped and does not function. Because it is small, it may be hard to locate by feel. It could be mistaken for a lymph node.
The undescended testes can be found near the scrotum or it may be in the abdomen or a limb or near the penis.
Unfortunately, this is considered an inheritable trait and the alpaca should not be used for breeding. The animal needs to be gelded and both the normal testes and the undescended testes needs to be removed.
In humans and dogs, cryptorchid animals have a higher incidence of testicular cancer. We have not found out if this would be true in alpacas, but removal of the testes would hopefully circumvent any problems later in life.
To determine if your alpaca has cryptorchidism, feel the scrotum. If you can not find one or both of the testes, your alpaca is a cryptorchid. When he is old enough, geld him and love him for his beautiful fleece. Geldings are wonderful additions to your herd and great PR animals.
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