Equine castration (aka gelding or cutting) is the surgical removal of both testicles and associated structures including the epididymis and distal aspect of the spermatic cord. It is usually performed to prevent stallion-like behaviour and unplanned mating. If castration is performed later in life the stallion-like behaviour may not be abolished. Castrating younger colts minimises the risk of complication and stallion-like behaviour developing. The best time for castration depends on the colt to be castrated, the weather and the facilities available.
There are different castration methods, which are utilised depending on the size and age of the equid, concurrent health issues and owner/vet preference.
A standing, open castration is the most common type of castration and can be performed under sedation and infiltration of local anaesthetic. Each testicle is removed via 2 scrotal incisions which are left open to drain, the horse should be stabled for 12-24 hours post castration to minimise the risk of bleeding and to monitor for any complications.
Standing castration is not suitable for very small or miniature ponies as access to the scrotum is limited. There is also an increased risk of bleeding and evisceration in older horses or horses that have previously been used for breeding. Standing castration cannot be performed on cryptorchids
Castration under general anaesthesia:
Castration can be performed under general anaesthesia using injectable anaesthetic drugs or anaesthetic gas when performed at the hospital. There are many advantages to castration under general anaesthesia including the ability to place ligatures if required as the operation is cleaner and more precise, additionally, the surgical site can be completely closed if performed at the hospital as the surgical site will be sterile.
Castration under general anaesthesia is the preferred method for castrating miniature ponies, cryptorchids and breeding stallions.
Laparoscopic cryptorchid castration:
Sometimes testicles remain in the abdomen and don’t descend into the scrotum as expected. Our specialist surgeon can perform laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery at the hospital in a standing sedated patient to remove these retained testicles.
If you would like to speak to one of our vets about castration or would like to refer a patient to us for castration, please call the office on 01834 860871.