Castration in Horses: The Problems that may Occur

Last Updated on December 9, 2020 by Allison Price

Castration is a medical operation that a veterinarian performs. It is the elimination of male horses’ testicles. The operation may do through standing position by local anesthesia and sedation. Also, it can be by general anesthesia and colt is lying inside position. This treatment is done to get the benefits of testosterone when the horse reaches its maturity.

But, in every operation there is always a complication. As a horse owner, you need to be knowledgeable to every complication that may arise. With this, you can manage the problems and prevent is to worsen.

Complications of Castration

Though castration is easy to execute, the risk of complications correlated with is higher. Also, complications are the most common result of malpractice. With 20-38 percent of the total of horses suffering a complication. The following are some complications of castration in horses:

  • Post-operative Edema and Swelling

It is the most known complication of the scrotal area and prepuce. In general, it peaks for three to four days after the procedure. It will heal in about ten to twelve days. It is rare to swell after this time or to swell associated to clinical symptoms. These symptoms include a stiff gait or inability to walk or urinate. This is also caused by the inability to remove enough scrotal skin. Also, the failure in stretching the SC tissue and skin after surgery or insufficient exercise. With these issues, it causes premature closure of scrotal incision and accumulation of excess fluid.

An inflammatory is also an indicative of swelling after post-operative duration. This should have a serious treatment if suspected. Horses experiencing non-infectious swelling can have a treatment in the farm. Veterinarian will give drugs that are anti-inflammatory and establish drainage to horses. Furthermore, as horses undergo sedation, there could be a manual opened incision. 

  • Infection

After castration, infection seems to be the second well-known complication. About three to twenty percent of horses experiencing this problem. Medical symptoms, which include fever and preputial swelling, can occur anywhere. Also, incisional discharge and lameness can occur from days to years after surgery. Using ligatures cause the infection and it is risky for horses.

These are forms of infection after the horses castrated:

1. Champignon

It is an infection is the result of Streptococcus. It is the development of purulent discharge came from stump surrounded spermatic cord. This occurs when the materials are not sterilized and use as ligatures.

2. Scirrhous Cord

It refers to recurrent spermatic cord stump infection associated with Staphylococcus sp. The testicular incision recovers in these situations. But the contaminated stump begins to abscess and enlarge. It will have a gradual forming of draining tract. To become clear, this can take several months to numbers years. Abscessed stump is evident as solid tissues mound throughout inguinal area. 

In certain cases, via inguinal ring and through the abdomen, an abscess can include the whole spermatic cord stump. The abscess stump can attach to the skin as a solid mass per rectum in horses.

  • Hemorrhage

Any bleeding after the removal emasculator of is normal for first five minutes. But hemorrhage is an excessive form of a rapid drip or even a flow beyond fifteen minutes. With this, horses experiencing this complication must treated right away. The artery of testicular is the most significant reason of post-operative hemorrhage. Also, scrotal vessel can cause the hemorrhage. It is vessels of outer pudendal branches. The cremaster muscle also can cause this complication.

Hemorrhage occurs when there is an incorrect use of emasculators. It includes non-perpendicular positioning of the emasculators on spermatic cord. Also, the presence of testicular skin inside the emasculators. Moreover, the spermatic cord stress during emasculation could result to hemorrhage. Also, the early discharge of emasculators and using too sharp emasculators.

  • Eventration

It is rare to happen after castration, occurring in 0.2-2.6% of cases. But eventration can be fatal. In situations about the intestine, referral is almost often recommended. Horses experiencing omental eventration would not need to have referral. Through emasculation and ligation, vet can remove the omentum. In general, the protrusion of omentum has no complications. 

In such cases, it is best to conduct a rectal examination to determine the inner inguinal rings’ size. This will ensure that there is no intestinal complication in the rings.

The intestinal eventration occurs for about 4 hours of castration. But reports shown that it can occur 12 days after the operation. Race, existing inguinal hernias, and the occurrence of inguinal hernia are risk factors. Also, the ring of internal inguinal, which more finger can fit into rectal palpation.

In cases like mentioned above, castration should change open or closed. Ligature must place in the cord while performing the operation. A ligature-free, closed castration would not cut the harm of eventration. But adding more ligature can reduce the risk. 

  • Peritonitis

In post-castration, septic peritonitis seldom occurs. But peritoneal cavities and vaginal interact, so there is a potential for infection. The infection might spread from the cord of spermatic to the horses’ abdomen. Depression, fever, and colic are clinical symptoms of septic peritonitis. There are other symptoms of peritonitis such as anorexia, diarrhea, and tachycardia. In horses exhibiting these symptoms, abdominocentesis must done. Also, the fluid must undergo cytologic examination.

It’s important to remember that after castration, non-septic peritonitis occurs. It will show no clinical signs but may affect the fluid cell of abdomen. The normal cell count is 10,000 cells/ul. This count will elevate up to 100,000 cell/ul within 5 days. The elevation of cell is the result of non-septic peritonitis.

Non-septic peritonitis is the product of inflammation in abdominal cavity. So, horses that have peritonitis’s signs should have fluid evaluation. The presence of Degenerative neutrophils and bacteria are important for diagnosis. 

  • Penile Damage

This complication occurs after castration. The cause of penile damage is the lack of experience of the veterinarian. The vet could may operate the penile shaft instead of the testicle. Veterinarian can prevent this by providing a proper understanding of the area’s anatomy. Paraphimosis and tissue swelling is the result of partial dissection of penis.

  • Hydrocele

Hydrocele is the occurrence of sterile fluids that occurs after castration. The occurrence takes place inside the vaginal cavity for months or years. It happens more often after castrations done through open. In medical, not painful scrotal, flocculent swelling occurs in horses. In general, hydrocele does not need any medication. 

The kindest cut? Castration often not as "routine" as horse owners think -

Aftercare of Castration

The most critical aspect is aftercare, which can help or hurt the operation. In usual, there is a regular blood dripping for days and yet can classified as normal. You ought to obey all the instructions from your vet, but they will give same tell.

For 24 hours after castration, the horse should have a peaceful rest in his stall. But after that point, need to that he exercises every day for one hour. In a pasture or paddock, people sometimes make an error of putting the horse loose. The horse can stand and graze many times if he has a bit of soreness. Castrated horses need exercise to ensure adequate drainage of their incisions. They must thus pursue or wanted.

The skin sutures will have a premature closing if they are not exercised. It will lead to sore, severe swollen, and even infected. Regular hardening with cold water always helps in minimizing the swelling. I will also help in cleaning the incisions. 

The impact of the remaining testosterone in the horses’ body would last for six weeks. So, in undisciplined horses, you would not see a significant attitude change. For such reason, it is important that the new gelding will have a separate place. With this, the castrated horses can avoid more serious complications. Throughout that time, horses cannot impregnate the mare, but he may get hurt.

For you to know more about the castration in horses, watch this video:

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!