Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Thousand Dollar Testicle

A week ago I posted that Sammy was having "man troubles."  Today we took steps to, hopefully, cure those troubles or at the very least make them moot.

The trouble Sammy was having was caused by something called a Sertoli Cell Tumor (at least that's what we think)in his right testicle.  All boys have Sertoli cells in their testicles.  These cells produce lots of things but the one that was causing the problem was estrogen.  See, when there's a tumor, estrogen production goes into overdrive and that's not good for a boy.  It causes a myriad of problems but the important ones for Sam were a drop in sperm production and what sperm were being produced were malformed.   It's hard to be a stud dog, even an old one, when you aren't producing enough viable sperm.

How do I know all this?  Well, because of the $200 vet visit two weeks ago to initially diagnose the tumor.  A week after that was the $90 second opinion consultation and sonogram with Dr. Dove.  Dr. Dove's recommendation was to remove the affected testicle - a unilateral castration.  He indicated there's about a 30% chance that doing that will allow the other testicle to recover from its estrogen overdose and resume sperm production.

Then there was the $185 pre-surgery blood workup.  For those of you keeping track, we're up to $475 now.

Today was the surgery and I picked Sam up this afternoon.  To be fair, not everything on the bill pertained to the testicle - there was $75 for flushing his tear ducts and removing a wart/growth from his neck.  They also did his toenails while he was under, for which I am deeply thankful.  Total today?  $505.43!  Gasp, choke, look at tech incredulously!  What happened to the $298 estimate from last week?  Well, it seems that having the testicle biopsied is over $200!

Now, to be fair, the vet's office didn't charge me for a "full neuter" and the tech pointed out several times that he can still be called a male - which made me chuckle as I was less concerned about that than if they removed the correct testicle.  They also didn't charge for the nail trim - how generous.

Yes, I know that all those figures don't quite total $1000 - factor in gas for driving to all the offices and your there.

Sam is doing ok tonight.  He's clearly sore and tired though.  I've given him half a Previcox and a full Tramadol so he can just chill.  He's asked to be called "The Uniballer" from now on and wants to write a manifesto.


  1. I would definitely say that Sam is now not only a pet, but an investment piece. At least that's what we say about Rufus at this point. Did you spring for a neuticle for him so he won't feel inferior to other male dogs?

    Hope the boy is up to his old tricks soon!

  2. Well, that sucks in just about every way imaginable. :( I hope he's feeling better soon and that the vets are right about the one left intact. Sheesh. Jon Farleigh sends hugs to his daddy.

  3. Yikes! poor Sam and his mamma's wallet! I hope he and his sperm production recover asap.

    And owning a corgi who hates having his nails done - gotta love having them done while he's under!!

  4. All the grandkids and I are sending love and heealing. Poor Sam!