Crypthorchid male rabbit with possible testicular cancer

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Duffles0710

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Hi all, I have an 8ish year old crypthorchid male bunny and he wasn't feeling too well over the weekend and was taken to the vet this morning for a check as I suspected he was having a bout of gi stasis, and besides the heat stroke he apparently had (and was treated for and doing much better now!), the vet palpated his stomach and suspects that the undescended testicle has turned cancerous.

I never got him neutered because of misinformation and an unreliable vet (not the same one as the current one, it's a long story; I never got him neutered with this current vet cause I found him when fluffs was already 6+) who insisted he didn't need the surgery, which made me apprehensive to put him through one all those years ago as where I am from, rabbit savvy vets are hard to find.

And that decision has seem to turn into a nightmare today. The vet seems very sure it is cancer, but we are not proceeding with tests and xrays yet because he wants to focus on his heat stroke and overall wellbeing first before we delve into that.

What I would like to ask is if any lovely people here have had any experience with such an issue could give me some advice? My biggest concerns/questions are:-

1. Is he too old for a surgery like this?
2. What are the risks besides anaesthesia(which is my biggest fear currently)?
3. What steps should I take to confirm that this really is cancer? Is a biopsy recommended?
4. Should I request for an Xray?

These are questions I should ask the vet too, I know, but I'd definitely appreciate to have any input so I can weigh my options when the time comes to tackle this. I'm planning to look for another vet to get a second opinion too. He's too precious for me to just jump into such an invasive surgery with one source of input :(
 

majorv

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Cancer is definitely a risk with this condition. Age and overall health are definitely important factors in having surgery. If the vet can do an X-ray or ultrasound and bloodwork to confirm than maybe try that first?
 

Popsicles

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It depends where the undescended testicle is - is it abdominal, or in the inguinal canal, or just short of reaching the sac? Obviously an abdominal surgery will be a lot more invasive. However, it will be similar to a spat operation on a female rabbit. As long as he is in good health and your vet has good experience operating on rabbits then his age shouldn’t be an issue. An x-ray might be good to check if the cancer has spread, though if I recall correctly this is rare in rabbits. It is quite likely to be cancer as cryptorchid testicles are very prone. The only way to confirm cancer or not would be to actually remove the testicle and have it tested, but a fine needle aspirate may be useful if your vet thinks they can get a decent sample where it is.
 

Duffles0710

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Cancer is definitely a risk with this condition. Age and overall health are definitely important factors in having surgery. If the vet can do an X-ray or ultrasound and bloodwork to confirm than maybe try that first?
Yea I'm definitely going to ask for an X-ray or ultrasound at the very least if possible! I gave it some thought after I calmed down a bit and realized it makes no sense to just go ahead without seeing solid proof that there's a tumor
 

Duffles0710

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It depends where the undescended testicle is - is it abdominal, or in the inguinal canal, or just short of reaching the sac? Obviously an abdominal surgery will be a lot more invasive. However, it will be similar to a spat operation on a female rabbit. As long as he is in good health and your vet has good experience operating on rabbits then his age shouldn’t be an issue. An x-ray might be good to check if the cancer has spread, though if I recall correctly this is rare in rabbits. It is quite likely to be cancer as cryptorchid testicles are very prone. The only way to confirm cancer or not would be to actually remove the testicle and have it tested, but a fine needle aspirate may be useful if your vet thinks they can get a decent sample where it is.
Thank you! These are good to know! The vet said it is abdominal, but he hadn't really showed me clearly where it actually is and there's no X-ray yet so am feeling pretty iffy about his insistence on having surgery when I don't have enough information. I've found 2 more rabbit savvy vets and am going to try to get appointments with them to hear what they have to say and maybe see if they can run some tests first as well...
 

Imbrium

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I don't have any experience with cancer in rabbits, but definitely get bloodwork done. This is a good article that can help take some of the fear out of putting your rabbit under anesthesia for surgery by walking you through the process. I'm pretty sure the important thing with the bloodwork is liver function (though the vet should know for sure based on what anesthetic they use whether it's the liver or the kidneys that would have to metabolize it).
 

Popsicles

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For what it’s worth, even if it isn’t a cancerous testicle I would still be inclined to castrate him if it was me, to prevent any problems in the future.
 

Duffles0710

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Thanks for all the advices! Unfortunately after getting a 2nd opinion from a more thorough vet, they found that the cancer has spread to his lungs, so I've decided to not put him through surgery and to keep him as comfortable as possible.
 

Duffles0710

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Thank you <3 I was introduced to some naturopathy supplements called NHV Natural by a local rescue. Just ordered some to try it out. Hopefully it eases his symptoms and keeps him happy.
 

Duffles0710

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I hope they do help. Have you got anything from your vet too?
She's putting him on some pain meds but I do need to do a follow up and see where we go from here without surgery. Maybe a monthly check up to monitor his condition and to try to bring his weight back up!
 

Imbrium

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Aww, poor bunny! That's so heartbreaking that the cancer has metastasized :(. I hope the two of you can make some more great memories in the time you have left with him.
 
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