How To Castrate A Horse? (TOP 5 Tips)

Castration is a surgical procedure performed by a veterinarian that is defined as the removal of the testicles of a male horse. The procedure can be accomplished through sedation and local anesthesia in a standing position or through general anesthesia and the horse lying on its side (lateral recumbency).

What is the best age to castrate a horse?

Colt castration is generally performed to make male horses easier to handle as they get older, especially on yards where mares are also present. Colt castration is usually performed when the colt is 6 months – 2 years old, depending on its appearance, growth and temperament.

How do you geld a horse?

Gelding Procedure and Care The horse is sedated, and local anesthesia is administered for a standing castration, or a general anesthesia is used if the horse is to be castrated lying down. The procedure involves removing the testicles, epididymis, and a portion of the spermatic cord through a small incision.

How long does it take to neuter a horse?

A relatively simple procedure, gelding can be performed with the horse either heavily sedated and still standing or under general anesthesia lying down. Most geldings take about thirty minutes from start to finish and the horse can be quietly walked back to his stall to rest. Full recovery in two weeks is common.

What tool is used to castrate a horse?

An emasculator is a tool used in the castration of livestock. Its function is to simultaneously crush and cut the spermatic cord, preventing hemorrhaging while still detaching the testis from the animal.

How much does it cost to castrate a horse?

The cost of gelding a horse depends on whether it is done on site or at a clinic, whether general anesthetic is used, and whether incisions are closed or left open. Mileage for your veterinarian to travel to your home site is ls a factor. Gelding a horse usually cost between $200 and $500.

How long does it take for a horse to recover from gelding?

Recovery time varies between idividuals with most animals being completely healed within 2-3 weeks. This surgery is performed on young colts or adult stallions to modify or prevent aggressive “stallion-like” behavior and pregnancy.

Is a mare or a gelding better?

Indeed, it has been the general rule that geldings are preferred over mares in most situations – they don’t come into heat, they don’t have those “stallion qualities”, and they tend to be more laid back in general.

What happens when you geld a horse?

“Gelding” a horse is the process by which a stallion is castrated. This is done with the horse anaesthetised so that he doesn’t become distressed. Small incisions are made in the scrotum through which the testes and some of the spermatic cord can be removed.

Why do they cut horse’s balls off?

Why are horses castrated? Most male horses are castrated for convenience in order to eliminate or reduce male behaviour such as aggression and uncooperativeness in those horses that are not intended for breeding purposes.

Is gelding a horse painful?

While modern surgical procedures cause far less discomfort to the animal than more primitive methods, there is minor postoperative discomfort when the animal is in recovery. Although castrations generally have few complications, there are risks.

When should you geld a horse?

Any colt can be gelded from as early as a week old, provided he has both testicles descended and if you can find a vet willing to geld that young. Many vets prefer to wait until the colt is several months old as they feel they will handle the anaesthetic better.

Can a gelded horse still get hard?

These geldings may mount mares, act possessive of mares in a band, achieve an erection, or pursue mares even while being ridden.

How do you use a Newberry knife?

The jaws of the Newberry knife are opened and the blade is placed against the side of the scrotum as high as possible but below the testicles to avoid cutting them. The blade should always be used at least half way up the length of the scrotum (remember, a bigger opening is better than a smaller opening).

Castration in horses

Castration is often performed between the ages of 6 months and 2 years, or later in life in the case of horses used for breeding purposes. In order to determine the appropriate moment for castration, factors such as the horse’s development, temperament, and presence of testicles are considered. In order to escape the fly season (June-September) and the cold, rainy weather of winter, when turnout is limited, we propose that castrations be performed in the spring and the fall. In order to determine the technique of castration, the horse must first be evaluated by a veterinary surgeon in order to determine its health state, the presence of both testicles, and the type of castration to be used.

It is advised that horses be vaccinated against tetanus prior to undergoing surgical procedures.

Where can a castration take place?

In any case, the treatment can be performed in the Markeaton office or at the horse’s stable location. When performing standing castration on the owner’s property, a clean stable with new bedding must be made available. Castration under general anesthesia can be performed at home for smaller breeds, but only under the right weather and environmental conditions. The use of a broad level soft area with no impediments and sufficient grass cover or bedding is essential to reduce the danger of accidents during induction and recovery procedures.

Castration under general anaesthetic in the operating theatre at Markeaton is suggested for larger horse breeds due to the increased risk of harm associated with recovery from anaesthesia in these animals.

How is a colt castrated?

In either case, the castration can be performed under sedation with the horse standing or under general anesthesia with the animal laying down in lateral recumbency, depending on the circumstances. The open castration and the closed castration are the two most commonly used procedures. In most cases, open castration is performed on horses who are younger than three years old. Standing castration is a procedure that is ideal for less temperamental horses with well-developed testicles who are not prone to bucking.

  • The skin lesions will not be sutured in order to allow for drainage.
  • Due to the larger size of the testicles and blood vessels, as well as the possibility of post-operative inguinal hernia in horses over three years of age, donkeys and mules of any age, closed castration is indicated in these animals.
  • The cut only affects the scrotal skin, leaving the tunic and testicle unaffected by the procedure.
  • After that, the lesion in the scrotum is sutured back together.
  • A horse’s age, breed, temperament, and the size and location of the testicles all play a role in determining which castration procedure is used.

Following surgery, a course of oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) will be prescribed for a few days to help reduce inflammation. According on the procedure and the dangers associated with it, an oral antibiotic course may be recommended.

Post-castration complications

All of the issues stated above need veterinary intervention; lethargy, colic, and fever can arise after surgery as a result of the pain, the length of time spent in surgery, and post-surgical infections. During the first few hours following castration, it is typical to have hemorrhage (a steady leak) from the scrotum. It is necessary to notify the veterinary surgeon if there is a continuous quick flow from the lesion. It is normal for the penis sheath and scrotum to swell during the first few days after the procedure.

Herniation of the intestine or of various anatomical tissues away from the surgical site is considered an emergency and must be notified to the veterinary surgeon as soon as possible after the surgery.

Possible cryptorchid (rig)

Cryptorchids are horses who have one or two testicles that have not been removed. Testicular tissue can be proven by the presence of elevated hormone levels in a blood sample taken after the removal of the tissue. These procedures allow the testicles to be kept in the inguinal canal where they may be palpated under anesthesia and then removed using the techniques described above. For testicles that have been stuck in the belly, laparotomy (abdominal surgery) or laparoscopy must be done in order to locate and remove the stuck testicle (s).


There are a variety of approaches that may be used to do this, but in the case of horses, the treatment is often surgical. When one or both testicles are not entirely descended into the scrotum, it might cause problems for the man. A rig or cryptorchid is the name given to a colt or stallion who exhibits this characteristic.

When should the testicles appear?

Testicles originate close to the kidneys in the womb of a colt foal and then “migrate” down and via a brief tunnel in the abdominal wall (known as the inguinal canal) before settling into their regular place in the scrotum of the colt foal after birth. The testicles are present in the scrotum of many colt foals from birth, while in others, they have normally descended by the time the foal is eight to ten months old, depending on the breed. If they haven’t emerged by this point, it is quite improbable that they will.

Why are horses castrated?

When it comes to breeding horses, most male horses are castrated for the sake of convenience, in order to minimize or diminish masculine behavior such as hostility and uncooperativeness in horses that are not meant for breeding.

What is the procedure if I want my colt to be castrated?

Colts can be castrated at any age, from as young as a few months to as old as a few years. Prior to advancing in any situation, it is vital to check if there are two testicles present. Some colts have two descending testicles, but one of them may be retained high in the inguinal canal, which may have an impact on the procedure used to extract them. When it comes to castrating colts, there are three major ways. When castrating horses under three years of age, we prefer to do so while the colt is sedated and standing.

  1. Cuts are made into the scrotum at its base, through its pouch-like supporting tissues (the tunic), and into one testicle on one side of the body.
  2. This procedure involves applying an emasculator (a specific cut-and-clamp device) across the blood vessels, muscle, and vas deferens in the cord above the testicle in order to ensure that the whole testicle and epididymis are removed.
  3. A repetition of the process is performed on the other side.
  4. This is referred to as a ‘open’ approach since no stitches or ties are used to close any of the internal or exterior tissues during the surgery.
  5. This method allows the veterinarian to access little or high testicles more safely and effectively, and it is also safer for the patient.
  6. You must ensure that you have a large enough space with decent grass cover or that you have enough bedding to lay down to make a safe environment for induction and recuperation if you choose to do it this way in your residence.
  7. The adoption of a ‘closed’ approach under general anaesthetic can be beneficial in the case of older male horses or, in some cases, more valuable colts or stallions.
  8. The scrotal skin is sliced while the patient is under general anesthesia, but the tunic and testicle are left intact.
  9. It is necessary to remove all three testicles, after which the wounds in the scrotum are closed with sutures.

It is, on the other hand, more expensive to carry out. These horses will require limited activity for at least one week following surgery, after which they will be able to gradually return to normal work.

Possible rig

A horse that seems to be a gelding but exhibits stallion-like behavior may require blood hormone testing to determine whether it is indeed a gelding or a colt in order to determine whether it is one or the other. Another scenario is the procurement of a colt with an unknown history and a single descended testicle from a single descendant. This indicates that the other has been retained, either within the abdomen or at a significant height above the inguinal area in this particular example. An examination by a veterinarian and, in some cases, additional investigations may be necessary to determine the situation.

  1. Healing castration scars can be difficult to detect visibly, especially in the early stages of healing.
  2. The non-scrotal testicle may just be resting inside the inguinal canal and will require a ‘tug’ in order to be accessed for removal in some instances.
  3. Veterinarian probing of the inguinal canal and per-rectum while the patient is sedated may be successful in locating the retained testicle if it is located high up in or near the entrance to the canal.
  4. Depending on the location of retention, abdominal (laparotomy – under general anaesthesia) surgery may be the most appropriate treatment option, with keyhole surgery laparoscopy being used in some instances.

In the same way, if an apparent gelding exhibits rig-like behavior, blood hormone tests can be performed to determine whether functional (hormone-producing) testicular tissue is still present, whether it is a retained testicle or remnants of testicular tissue, which are usually found on the severed cord, following previous castration (also known as ‘cut proud’ behavior).

What do the tests involve?

The testicles are responsible for the production of the hormone testosterone, which is a male hormone. The testosterone levels in a blood sample taken from an entire colt following puberty are always high. They are low in a genuine gelding and stay low even after being stimulated with another hormone (hCG), which is administered by intravenous injection. Following the injection of hCG into a rig, the testosterone level will increase considerably. The test consists of drawing blood at time 0 and immediately injecting hCG into the bloodstream.

It is necessary to obtain a second blood sample 30 to 120 minutes later, and the findings are compared. When measuring oestrone sulphate levels in colts, a more convenient single blood test can be utilized if the colts are beyond three years of age. Donkeys are not permitted to take this test.

Post castration complications

Clinician-assisted castration can cause clinical symptoms such as depressed mood or appetite, colic, and fever in certain cases, which may be associated to one of the typical problems. The majority of the issues described below are mostly associated with open castration combined with closed castration or open castration performed under general anesthesia (which has a 0.9 percent chance of mortality due to anaesthetic risks)

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In the early aftermath of open castration, the most often reported acute consequence is excessive hemorrhage. It is typical to have some bleeding from the scrotum in the first few of hours following open castration. A modest drip is okay, but if the bleeding becomes more of a constant stream, the clinic should be contacted. It is possible that the scrotum may need to be packed, or that a leaking blood artery will need to be ligated or clamped.

Swelling of the prepuce and scrotum

This is typical unless it becomes extreme, and there is no need to be concerned. It is common for this to happen if the scrotal incisions have been closed too soon after opening. For example, in the event of closed castration, some skin stitches may need to be removed, which may necessitate reopening of the surgical site.


While this can also occur forward and towards the chest as a result of an early closure of the surgical site, it is unlikely to be of any relevance and should subside as the patient exercises.


An infection can arise if the surgical site becomes contaminated with organic materials, and it is an expected consequence of open castration that should be anticipated. Veterinary evaluation and excision of diseased tissue may be required in this situation. If necessary, an antibiotic regimen as well as anti-inflammatory medicine will be administered to the patient.

Schirrous cord

This might happen as a result of an infection that has progressed from the scrotum. This ailment may respond to debridement and a course of antibiotics and anti-inflammatories, depending on the individual. It is possible that more resection will be required under general anesthesia in some cases. In certain cases, schirrous cords can be discovered after castration, when the chord has attached to the skin and formed drainage tracts.


This is a separate sort of infection that can emerge following castration and necessitates the need for surgical intervention in most cases.


Scrotal swelling is a fluid-filled, non-painful enlargement of the scrotum that can gradually expand in size over time. The open castration procedure is more prone to this problem, which is rarer when compared to other methods. It may need to be opened to allow for drainage, and it may also need to be debrided to lessen the likelihood of recurrence.


Even though it is not uncommon for little parts of stringy yellow omental to prolapse from the surgery site, it is important to have the omentum properly clipped by your veterinarian to avoid more omentum prolapsing under gravity.

Intestinal eventration

This is an uncommon issue that occurs more frequently in standardbreds and shires after they have been castrated openly. As a result, we propose that these breeds have closed castrations. In certain circumstances, post-castration colic symptoms might be caused by insufficient analgesia following castration pain or colic caused by management changes around the time of castration, such as decreased food and water consumption.

If you have any questions or concerns concerning post-castration issues, please call the clinic to talk with a veterinary surgeon who will advise you on the best course of action to take.

Castrating a Horse in the Field

The 20th of May, 2014, was the 8th of December, 2017. Castrating a male horse, called gelding, can be done at a veterinary hospital but is typically done in the wild. In addition, because the gelding is performed on the horse’s property, there is no need for the animal to be transported and the animal can wake up in familiar surroundings rather than being kept in a confined space. If the skin around the surgical site is adequately cleaned, incidences of infection during field castration are quite low.

  • One disadvantage of standing castration is that it is not quite as easy for the veterinarian to see and maneuver.
  • An alternative is to anesthetize the horse so that he ends up lying on the ground.
  • An alternative is to roll the horse onto his back and support him in this posture using straw bales put along either side of the ribs.
  • The first testicle is taken out and clamps are inserted on the muscles and ducts.
  • The first testicle is cut away, and the same procedure is followed for the second testicle.
  • The initial incisions are stretched to allow the surgical site to drain during the next several days.
  • Another injection can be given to reverse the action of the anesthetic, the straw bales are pulled away, and the horse is allowed to regain consciousness and stand.
  • The horse should be hand-walked and then encouraged to move around on his own.
  • Gelding should be done during a cool season when there are not manyfliesaround to irritate the healing incision.

Equine Castration Techniques

Castration is one of the most common surgical operations performed on horses, accounting for around 10% of all surgeries. The most usual age for castration is between the ages of 12 and 18 months, however horses can be castrated at any time. Castration can be conducted in a variety of methods depending on the age of the horse, the horse’s willingness to cooperate and tractability, the time of year and the environment in which the horse lives. Castration can be performed through an open incision (Figure 1) that is left open to heal or through a closed incision that is conducted using a scrotal ablation method (Figure 2).

  1. 1) Routine castration is conducted with the use of an emasculator (Figure 2), which compresses the cord and helps to keep bleeding under control.
  2. This equipment twists the cord with the use of a drill, which causes the blood arteries to become blocked (Figure 4).
  3. For the most part, horses are left alone and monitored in their stall for 24 hours before being exercised twice daily after that.
  4. For the first 12-24 hours after the surgery, some bleeding from the incision is usual.
  5. It is possible that significant preputial edema and infection will occur if the wounds are closed too soon.
  6. 2) (See Fig.
  7. The wounds are closed with many layers of absorbable suture to prevent them from reopening.
  8. It is possible for the horse to resume normal exercise after 7-14 days.
  9. However, we believe that the postoperative prognosis for both you and your horse has been significantly enhanced.
  10. It also helps to reduce the risk of excessive internal bleeding, which is particularly essential.

In addition, your horse will be given antibiotics and anti-inflammatories both before and after the procedure is performed. On most occasions, the horse will be kept overnight to ensure that there are no immediate issues, and then released the next day.

Castration Is A Surgical Procedure

In the case of male animals, castration is a surgical technique done by your veterinarian that can help eradicate undesired aggressive male tendencies while also preventing the animal from reproducing. Male castration is sometimes referred to as gelding, cutting, or emasculating the horse. Male horse castration is a frequent procedure that involves the removal of the testicles of the horse’s genitalia. The testicles are responsible for the production of the hormone testosterone, which contributes to the development of the male’s manly condition.

  • Testosterone is produced by the adrenal glands.
  • Despite the fact that castration is a regular surgical procedure done by veterinarians, it should not be regarded as routine.
  • When the horse is positioned on his back or highly drugged and jerked while standing, the testicles are removed under general anesthesia and he is positioned on his hind legs throughout the process.
  • The fundamental technique is the same regardless of whatever approach is used.
  • The tissue around the testicle is then removed, revealing the testicle and spermatic cord, as well as the cremaster muscle, beneath the surface of the skin.
  • The cremaster muscle is connected to the testicle’s outer tissue and is responsible for increasing and lowering the testicle’s temperature within the scrotal sac in order to maintain the right temperature of the testis.
  • Emasculators work in such a way that when the handles are closed, one side of the instrument crushes one side of the cord while the other side is cut by the other side of the instrument.

Unlike in older immature colts, the cremaster muscle is incorporated in the emasculators in younger immature colts, which eliminates the need to separate the cremaster muscle from its cord.

Because of the greater quantity of tissue present, an effective crush on the arteries, particularly the artery, is not possible, and the horse is at danger of internal bleeding that might result in death.

This increases the chance of developing a very catastrophic problem known as “eventration.” It is called eventration when a part of the small intestine passes through the inguinal canal into the scrotum before exiting via the incision.

As soon as both testicles have been removed and there is no danger of bleeding from the cord, the horse is brought back to consciousness and kept to a barn for a minimum of 24 hours.

When castrations are performed in the field rather than in a surgical suite, the incisions are left open to allow the wounds to heal naturally from the inside out.

In some cases, castration in a surgical suite is absolutely required in order to avoid complications.

Cryptorchidism is the word used to describe this condition.

A foal’s testicles will normally descend from the abdomen into the scrotum before birth or within a few weeks after birth, depending on the breed.

When a foal does not have a palpable testicle in the scrotum, it is possible that the testicle has been descended from the abdomen, but the testicle is located in the inguinal canal.

These are not as difficult to remove as cryptorchids, but they are more difficult to remove than a standard castration procedure.

As with any surgical procedure, there are a number of potential problems that might arise.

Intestinal eventration is a medical emergency that has the potential to be life-threatening.

The omentum is a fatty yellow tissue that surrounds the abdominal organs and provides protection for them.

The horse will need to be sedated once again, and the omentum will need to be emasculated just inside the incision.

In most cases, a few little drops of blood will be seen from the incision site.

If the bleeding continues, the horse may require the wound to be packed with gauze in order to keep the bleeding under control.

Edema is typical and expected in the post-operative period, and it is usual to experience some swelling.

It is possible that an infected incision site will result in infection of the residual spermatic cord, which can be a serious consequence of castration.

This is the ideal environment in which an illness might begin to spread.

If the remaining spermatic cord gets infected, it will need to be surgically removed to prevent further infection.

From the time of weaning to the age of two years, castration is the most popular method of choice.

It is true that gelding a horse at a younger age will result in the horse being higher in the future.

It also has the additional effect of reducing the amount of muscular mass that the gelding will grow, while at the same time preventing and eliminating the aggressive characteristics that intact males are capable of displaying.

Castrations are a required elective surgery that must be performed. Men who are castrated at a younger age are less likely to experience issues, however complications may occur. In addition, castrating the horse at a young age may be able to avoid the development of behavioral issues.

How to – Equine Castration, Recumbent – Large Animal Surgery – Supplemental Notes

Stallion castration is conducted in order to rid the horse of the aggressiveness and attention impairments that are connected with him.

Relevant anatomy

In the ideal case, eating should be withheld for 6 hours or more. Although this is rarely done, a large dinner should be avoided if at all possible. NSAIDs/analgesics: Preoperative use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is recommended to reduce discomfort and inflammation. Postoperative NSAID therapy is highly advised for 3 days, with the possibility of an extension if there are difficulties. Flunixin meglumine and phenylbutazone are two commonly used antibiotics. Antibiotics: Antibiotics used before to surgery help to reduce the number of complications.

  • It is necessary to have tetanus prophylaxis.
  • The administration of mepivacaine intra-testicularly is more likely to be helpful in relaxing the cremaster muscle.
  • Lateral recumbency is more beneficial for lung ventilation and may be accomplished with fewer personnel than upright recumbency.
  • Small testicles can be more easily identified and removed if they are located dorsally.
  • Before and after the local block procedure, the scrotum is cleaned and cleansed with alcohol to ensure a clean surface.
  • Surgical Instruments and Supplies:
  • Emasculator
  • Scalpel blade
  • Suture (0 absorbable, avoid chromic gut)
  • Emasculator and Scalpel blade The following items are required: sterile gauze, scissors, and forceps (carmalts and Kellys).
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Surgical procedure –

Video on YouTube of the narrated version (9:45 minutes).

Surgical procedure-written version

After both testicles have been discovered, the smaller or ventral testicle is removed first to ensure that it is in fact a testicle and to make it easier to remove the second testicle after it has been detected. The testicle is stabilized, and an incision is made down the whole length of the testicle along its vertical axis, all the way down to the testicle’s insertion site. An open castration is one in which the tunic is opened and the testicle should be protruding out. The tunic is not opened in the case of a closed castration.

  • In a closed castration, an incision is made above the testicle, the tunic is opened, and the fasica is stripped.
  • Additionally, the ligament that connects the epididymis to the tail of the urethra is pulled or severed with scissors.
  • Avoid crushing vessels with the hemostat since this can complicate the situation later on when you want to ensure that you have a good crush or ligature in place.
  • Hemostats were used to mark the cord in order to locate it later.
  • Closed castrations make this considerably more difficult — see the chart below to see how far the testicle can be exteriorized from the body in an open castration vs a closed castration.
  • To make sure there are no skin scrapes caught in the emasculators, gently flex the testicle to ensure there is no stress on the veins that might affect hemostasis.
  • Keep the emasculators in place while you remove the second testicle, or for at least 1 minute in the case of yearlings and 2 minutes in the case of older horses.
  • Putting the emasculator in position (see the nut to nut), taking out the testicle while keeping the emasculator in place, and using hemostats to retain the cord while checking for bleeding.
  • As the emasculators are being removed, look for any signs of bleeding.
  • Remove the hemostats and examine the area for bleeding once more.

Optional: make a cut across the median raphe to ensure that drainage is still accessible if one incision closes. Take note that this normally causes the horse to become alert. Cleanse the patient, reinstall the halter, and let him or her to recuperate.

Postoperative care

  • No food until you are awake, then you can eat a normal ration. Take a day off to rest up for the next day. After that, pasture turnout with forced exercise for at least 20 minutes each day is recommended. Continue taking NSAIDs for three days. Keep an eye out for edema, arterial hemorrhage, eventration, or an interruption in the supply (fever). For at least several days, the wound should be dripping continuously.


  • Swelling, facial or radial nerve paralysis, infection, eventration/evisceration, bleeding, hematoma if the scrotum is closed, penile trauma if the penile is mistaken for a testicle are all possible outcomes.


You may watch the video on YouTube. It should be noted that his “modified closed” approach is actually an open castration, which is a superior choice than the modified closed procedure (7:50 min) You may watch the video on YouTube. Castration laboratory for students (1:47 min)


In the literature, in practice, and in the films, there are several inconsistencies and old wives’ tales to be found. These two articles “win” in terms of being the most logical and evidence-based, respectively. To make the most of your time, start here for the quickest results:

  • Castration problems: A overview of castration procedures, as well as information on how to deal with difficulties. VCNA (2020): 37:259-273
  • VCNA (2020): 37:259-273
  • Please remember to maintain NSAIDs for 3 days after surgery, and most horses that acquire infections as a result of premature scrotal closure will not require antibiotics, but will just require drainage.
  • Option:Equine castration: A overview of the procedures, problems, and management of these difficulties Equine Vet Educ (2013), 25(9), 476-482
  • Equine Vet Educ (2013), 25(9), 476-482
  • Equine Vet Educ (2013), 25

Equine Vet J 2020;52:805–810, Intratesticular mepivacaine vs lidocaine in anaesthetized horses undergoing Henderson castration. Equitwister, 2015 AAEP, R-Vets wild horse castrationwebsite, castration difficulties Video collection of the good, the terrible, and the ugly


For us, castration is the most common surgical surgery that we undertake; in our practice, geldings outweigh stallions by a factor of almost 100 to 1. The procedure is frequently carried out at an early age, often when the child is less than a year old, provided that both testicles have descended. The treatment is short and rather uncomplicated, albeit it may look terrible to people who are prone to squeamishness. Performing a castration can be done in two ways: under standing sedation or under general anaesthetic, depending on the circumstances.

In the case of older animals, donkeys, and some draught breeds, castration under general anesthesia is recommended.

PreparationWe usually castrate horses in the morning, and the horse should be confined overnight if possible to prevent infection.

Food and water can be delivered in the same manner as before.

  1. Make sure you have a bucket of hot, clean water on hand
  2. Clean your horse’s bedding regularly — straw is preferable to shavings for this purpose. Make sure you have the horse’s passport with you.

Ideally, your horse will have previously been vaccinated against tetanus, but this is not always the case, particularly in young colts. Tetanus anti-toxins will be administered to provide rapid protection, and immunizations will be administered at the same time as the tetanus anti-toxin. However, it is better to have the vaccines up to date not only because it is safer for the horse, but also because the cost of tetanus antitoxin is prohibitively expensive! The veterinarian will next examine your horse, checking to see that the heart and lungs are in good working order so that there are no additional hazards from anesthesia, as well as verifying that both testicles are present.

  1. Your horse will next be given a very strong sedative so that they will not feel anything during the surgery.
  2. An antiseptic scrub will be used to thoroughly clean the scrotum in order to make it as sterile as possible before the procedure begins.
  3. The testicles will next be removed by the veterinarian, who will make two incisions, one for each testicle.
  4. There will very certainly be some blood, but you are under no need to observe!
  5. The aftercare of your horse is critical in order to minimize discomfort, swelling, and infection after his big day has passed.
  6. The risk of a horse eating too soon after being sedated is that the food will be insufficiently chewed and that not enough saliva will be mixed with the food.
  7. It is recommended that he remain in his stable until the following morning when fully awake.
  8. The next morning turnout is ideal, although in many cases this is not available, as at this stage he will still be able to successfully cover mares!
  9. Sperm may survive for up to a week!
  10. Approximately week after castration, your horse will no longer be able to impregnate a mare but hormone levels may take 4 weeks to subside.
  11. MedicationsIn all cases we will prescribe a course of anti-inflammatory and pain relieving medication, usually phenylbutazone (“bute”).

Your vet may also choose to prescribe antibiotics, depending on the time of year, and what degree of sterility was achieved during thesurgery. ComplicationsSerious complications from castrations are not common, but there are 5 things to be aware of:

  • It is typical for there to be some bleeding from the surgical site for up to 48 hours following the procedure
  • You should always be able to “count the drips.” Blood flow that is greater than this need veterinarian intervention.
  • Swelling of the scrotum is typical, and can reach up to three times its normal size. This will reach a peak within 3-5 days of surgery and then gradually diminish over time.
  • If the wounds are infected, they will cause more pain and swelling, as well as a pus-like discharge in certain cases. Regular exercise to promote drainage, as well as tight insect control measures, are essential in the prevention of illness
  • Nonetheless, If you have any reason to believe you have an infection, call us immediately.
  • Occasionally, little chunks of tissue will protrude from the incisions, necessitating veterinarian intervention. Typically, this is a little bit of the testicle’s covering that may be readily removed
  • In rare cases, the intestines might pass through the incision and into the body. This will have the appearance of a group of sausages. If you see this, quickly press them upwards with a moist cloth and get in touch with us right once. This is an extremely unusual event
  • It should be noted.
  • A number of horses, particularly those castrated when they are older or who have done any covering, will retain their stallion-like characteristics even after they have been castrated. This is most often caused by learned behavioral reactions, and it need thorough counter-training to prevent it.

Colt castration: useful information for horse owners

It is customary to castrate male horses as they mature in order to make them simpler to handle as they mature, which is especially important on yards where mares are also present. When a colt is 6 months to 2 years old, depending on the colt’s looks, development, and temperament, it is often castrated in the veterinarian’s office. Colt castrations can be conducted at any time of year, while it is best to avoid doing so between June and September owing to the high amount of fly activity during this period.

This offers the following advantages:

  • General anaesthesia carries none of the hazards connected with it. It may be done in your own yard – commonly in a stable – which eliminates the need to travel
  • When compared to gelding a horse under general anesthesia, there are significant savings.

Standing sedation castrations are not recommended in cases when only one testicle is present, or in cases where there are difficulties, such as the existence of an inguinal hernia, that need the use of anesthesia. An unbroken colt with completely descended testicles, a stable with clean bedding (that has not been recently disturbed) or matting, two clean buckets, and a continuous supply of warm water are all required to perform a standing castration. A second pair of hands can be really beneficial.

  • An injection into the jugular vein is used to administer the sedative mixture after the colt’s heart and lungs have been examined to determine that it is healthy enough to be sedated, and after a visual inspection of the scrotum has been performed.
  • The colt is thoroughly sedated after about five minutes of being medicated.
  • The tail is then wrapped to keep it out of the way while the surgery is being performed on it.
  • The surgical site is cleansed, and the surgeon cleans himself up and prepares the equipment for use.
  • There are no sutures inserted in the incision, and the wound is left exposed to allow for drainage of the fluids.
  • The colt is allowed to rest peacefully in the stable as he recovers.
  • For the first 30-60 minutes after the incision has been closed, a tiny quantity of blood and fluid will trickle from the wound.
  • They should be put out the next morning to encourage people to go for a walk.
  • You should avoid putting them in dusty, dry paddocks or putting them out with other horses that they may try to mount.
  • Our team has conducted several colt castrations while under standing anesthesia as part of our standard practice.

There are relatively few difficulties with it, and it is typically safe and cost-effective. However, in order to adequately educate our clients, the following are some of the probable issues associated with (any) castrations:

  • The horse must be re-examined as quickly as possible if there is excessive bleeding, which is normally noticed in the first few hours but can occur up to 48 hours after castration. Removal of tissue dangling from the incision may be necessitated by the appearance of the tissue (fatty-looking tissue or swelling wound edge)
  • Eventration (the appearance of intestines dangling from the incision) will necessitate additional surgical intervention. Excessive edema – this generally occurs in the first few days and is usually caused by insufficient activity, but it may also be an indication of infection and may necessitate the administration of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications. It is possible to develop an infection between 5 and 10 days following the treatment, which will manifest itself as swollen tissue on one side of the scrotum. This is potentially quite dangerous and will necessitate the administration of medicines. Scirrhous cord infection (infection of the inguinal canal) will necessitate the administration of antibiotics as well as further surgical intervention.

The majority of difficulties associated with castration may be resolved effectively; however, early discovery and treatment increase the probability of a favorable outcome. Contact us as soon as possible if you have any concerns about the wound or if your horse looks to be off color or stiff. Our phone number is 011823 662286. If you have any concerns about this subject, the Equine Vets at Mount Vets are here to help. If you want assistance or advice on any equine veterinary matters, please contact us immediately — we are here to assist you.

Please call: 01823 662286

Castrating a horse is a regular surgery, but it is not one that most people are acquainted with or comfortable with. Beth from XLVets Equine will be on hand to explain how it’s done and what to anticipate. After spending the whole winter yearning for better weather and more sunshine to finally arrive, it has finally here, and we are all complaining that it is too hot outside! My colleague Heather and I were less than delighted to discover seven castrates scheduled in our calendar on the warmest day of the year thus far, which occurred on Wednesday, June 20th.

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How are horses castrated?

The vast majority of colts are castrated while under the influence of anesthesia. This implies that it can be completed in the yard. Because it is not feasible to execute this surgery in a perfectly sterile environment, we do not seal the surgical incision and instead keep it open to allow the fluid to drain. Additionally, we are unable to sew the blood vessels to halt the bleeding since the suture material might get contaminated and become a source of infection. In order to reduce the risk of bleeding, it is more dangerous to castrate horses who have bigger blood arteries and consequently are at a higher risk of bleeding, such as older horses, larger horses, and mares with covered fetuses, using this procedure.

How long does it take to castrate a horse?

Typically, a regular castration takes between 45 and 90 minutes to complete from beginning to end. In order to ensure that each horse is healthy and has two descending testicles, we briefly examine them before seizing them with a heavy dose of tranquilizer. We administer a pain reliever, an antibiotic, and a tetanus antitoxin to the patients. Here, it is really beneficial if the horse has been carefully handled and is used to its owners having “a feel” for them! We must inject the local anaesthetic; this is the most difficult portion, and it is also the part when we are most frequently kicked.

The castration procedure

This requires us to hold the testicle in place while inserting a long needle into it. Half of the anaesthetic is injected into the testicle to relax and numb the region; the other half is injected deeper into the skin so the patient does not feel us creating the incision. When done on both sides, the horse frequently becomes aware of the situation by the second side and is less than delighted! As soon as this is completed, our wonderful nurses scrub the area while we put on our sterile gloves and grab a blade, which is when we find out whether or not we did a good job with the local anesthesia (!) We hope the horse isn’t aware of what is going on and remains calm as we cut through all of the layers, all the way down to the testicle.

It is with the emasculators that we clamp the two sections independently, which is the portion that generates the crunching sound, which causes all the lads watching to cross their legs!

My personal preference is to put on some little forceps before pulling them off so that if the blood artery begins leaking again, it will be simpler for me to grip it.

The guideline is that if you can count the droplets of blood, you are OK; but, if they are moving too quickly for you to count, you must call us back.

It is recommended that you rest for 24 hours to ensure that there is no more bleeding and then engage in lots of mild movement to minimize swelling and the risk of infection.

What are the risks?

According to a recent research conducted by a renowned horse hospital in Newmarket, the risk of complication in standing castration is an incredible 22 percent. Anything from mild bleeding and skin infections to more serious infections such as eviscerations and peritonitis is included in this category (the intestines coming out through the wound). This is one of the reasons why, as a freshly graduated veterinarian, I find castrations to be a little nerve-wracking, especially when many owners view it to be a regular and hence a relatively low-risk surgery.

Castrations performed in the operating room under general anesthesia, on the other hand, had a 6% complication rate but were three times more expensive, which was obviously a drawback!

The Kinder Cut – Castration of horses

This is the time of year when individuals begin to take a closer look at their adorable young foals and realize that they are rapidly growing up. As a result, it is also the time of year when we begin to receive phone inquiries from customers who are interested in gelding their horses. If you are considering having a colt gelded (also known as “cutting”), my recommendation is to speak with your veterinarian, who will be able to advise you on the best course of action in your particular situation.

  1. Of course, the first issue to consider is whether or not to fire him from the team.
  2. It is fairly common for male horses to be castrated, and for good reason: very few individuals have the necessary resources, time, or interest to care for a whole stallion.
  3. They are also considerably more quickly distracted (for example, by a passing mare) and more prone to fighting than the average horse.
  4. No, of course not — but it is far more difficult.
  5. That is detrimental to their mental health, as well as the mental health of their owners and riders!
  6. However, I have seen far too many bored, frustrated, and borderline dangerous stallions who have not been properly raised and who continue to be a liability to the industry.
  7. Moreover, they do not surprise you by producing unexpected foals in your rival mares.

The vast majority of horses are not always good breeding stock; you must take an impartial look at him and determine whether or not breeding from him would genuinely help the breed as a whole.

If you’ve decided to get your colt trimmed, the next step is when to have it done.

Ideally, it should be done during a time of year when the weather is cold enough to prevent flies from invading surgical incisions.

There is an upper and a lower limit to the maturity of the colt in terms of age.

This normally occurs between the ages of 6 and 12 months, however the age range is rather varied.

The top limit is substantially more flexible than the lower limit.

This includes some types of aggressiveness and mounting behavior, among other things.

However, I believe that this is generally too late since, while it allows the colt to grow more muscle, he will also be acquiring stallion characteristics as well.

Puberty causes the testicles to grow in size considerably, and as a result, their blood supply grows in proportion; the larger spermatic artery in a post-pubescent colt makes it much more difficult to prevent hemorrhage from.

Having said that, there are many exceptions — I once had to deal with the castration of a four-month-old colt because he’d begun mounting his mother.

In this particular scenario, I believe it is totally dependent on the colt in question, and it is an area (among many others) in which I will defer to the owner’s discretion.

If the colt is still inaccessible, it is possible that it is a cryptorchid (i.e.

These colts should ALWAYS be castrated, and if feasible, the procedure should be performed under general anaesthesia at a veterinary clinic.

Additionally, the condition may be hereditary – and if so, he runs the danger of passing it on to his children.

Essentially, there are two aspects to consider: first, do you want him done “at home” or “away”?

Second, and this is a related question, do you do the surgery while he is standing or down under general anaesthesia?

Although many practitioners now provide castration services in-office, the vast majority of clients still choose to have the procedure performed at home.

Nonetheless, the fact that you’ll have to carry the colt to the clinic negates this benefit; in addition, I believe that doing the process at home, if the necessary equipment are available, is less traumatic.

There has been a great deal of discussion about this decision, as well as some very stupid remarks from those who are not well-informed.

The two most important decisions you’ll have to make about the operation itself are whether to have it done under standing sedation or under general anaesthesia.

Draft breeds are more susceptible to eventration (a condition in which abdominal contents escape through the castration wound), and as a result require a different surgical technique, which may be easier to perform under a general anaesthetic; fully adult stallions bleed more, and as a result require better surgical access, which may be easier to achieve under a general anaesthetic.

For those who are unfamiliar with sedation, the colt is given intravenous sedatives (see my blog on sedatives) and becomes extremely drowsy.

Although he may be unconscious, it’s important to remember that he is still conscious of what’s going on, so local anaesthetic is injected into the testicles (perhaps 20ml into each one, plus some under the skin of the scrotum) or into the spermatic cord (although I find that this is easier said than done, with most colts pulling the testicles up tight to the body wall, making it difficult to access the cord from the outside) to n The castration is then carried out by the veterinarian, who works from a position beside the horse.

Using this method, the horse will recover from the sedative more quickly and avoid the possibility of having to undergo a general anaesthetic.

There is also a significantly increased danger of injury to the veterinarian or their assistance — predictably, some colts may oppose violently if they realize what you are doing.

With the use of general anaesthesia, the colt is sedated before receiving an injection of general anaesthetic, which is administered to the horse.

Following his departure, an aide raises the upper leg, allowing access to the surgeon.

Furthermore, a GA is a risk in and of itself; according to one research, the average fatality rate from GA in a horse is 1 percent (although this includes colics and emergency surgeries – the risk for a young, healthy colt is far lower).

Is one clearly superior than the other in terms of quality?

Although it is a decision to be made with your veterinarian, it is important to remember that they may have a preference that may influence their efficiency.

The procedure itself is essentially the same regardless of which way the horse is positioned.

In the past, veterinarians did not frequently provide medicines in addition to the sedative (which has a painkilling component), but I personally believe that it is unfair to do so.

It has resulted in a great deal of misunderstanding; keep in mind that gelding is NOT the same as a vasectomy, and it cannot be reversed.

In such case, here’s a short rundown of the procedure: Afterwards, the groin area is washed with a skin disinfectant, and a last examination is performed to ensure that both testicles are accessible.

After that, I’ll wash my hands thoroughly to ensure they are sanitary.

Gloves provide an extra sterile barrier, but they may also impair your sense of touch and grip, so it is up to the veterinarian to decide which option is best for him or her.

From here on out, there are a few different choices, but the basic idea remains the same: cut through the tissue to the vaginal tunic (the membranes that surround the testis itself) and gently pull the testicle down and out of the body.

Once there is sufficient slack in the spermatic cord (which contains the blood arteries, nerves, and other structures that feed the testicle), the emasculators are put across the cord, either with or without the tunic, depending on the technique used to perform the procedure.

Interesting ethical problem there – do I try and help the unconscious boy, or do I just keep working on the anaesthatised horse who’ll soon wake up?

After removing the emasculators, the vet will check closely for bleeding from the stump.

If the surgery is taking place in the field, the vet will usually leave the incision open for drainage; closing it seriously increases the risk of post op swelling and infection.

The rule of thumb is, if you can count the drops, its fine!

If in any doubt though, you should contact your vet.

The complications to be aware of arebleeding,eventration, andinfection.

If there is, or if there’s a lot of blood – call your vet!

eventration,is when abdominal contents prolapse through the inguinal canal, and it’s more common in draft breeds.

Eventration usually involves some fatty tissue (the omentum) and although it needs urgent surgical repair, it isn’t usually life threatening.

This is very serious, but (touch wood) it’s also very rare.

In a few unlucky cases, though, a schirrous cord forms, where abscesses form in the canal.

These complications are very rare, and even if they occur, they’re usually fixable, so don’t get scared of the possibility!

The last thing to bear in mind is that the gelding may still show sexual interest for some weeks after castration (at least, if he was before), and may even be fertile for a time: although he can’t make more sperm without testicular tissue, there will still be some “in storage” in the spermatic ducts.

The bottom line is this: although it doesn’t seem a nice thing to do, for most colts in most situations, gelding leaves them happier and more content than they would otherwise be as entire stallions.

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