In general, colts are castrated from the age of six months to two years. We castrate colts 'in the field' i.e. at your yard, in a large, flat, clean field or suitable stable. The colts are either sedated, so that they remain standing for the procedure or given a general anaesthetic, so they lie down on the ground. We then wait with them whilst they recover. We will only castrate colts in this way that have two descended testicles. Colts with one or two retained testicles, or very mature stallions will require referral for surgery in theatre conditions.
Please seek advice from the surgery with any queries by calling 01628 950700.
After castration keep your horse in a small quiet area for 12 hours. A small dry paddock, clean stable or yard is ideal. After this time your horse should be turned into a dry paddock or walked in hand to encourage fluid drainage and decrease swelling.
Fly repellent should be used on the horse at appropriate times of the year but should not be applied directly to the castration wounds.
Dripping of blood from the castration site is common for several hours after the procedure. It should be no faster than a dripping tap and usually will stop once sufficient clots have formed within an hour or so.
It is also normal to see up to 2cms of pink/red tissue protruding from the wound up to 24-48 hours post castration, this will usually shrink back into the wound once the swelling starts to decrease.
Scrotal swelling post-operatively is completely normal and to be expected. This swelling gradually spreads to the sheath and then should resolve within approximately two weeks. Turnout or walking in hand is encouraged to help to reduce the swelling in the groin region
Persistent swelling, discomfort, with or without discharge can indicate a post-operative seroma formation or infection. This may take a few days to develop and will need further veterinary treatment
This is usually seen when blood clots fail to form after two to three hours. A fast drip or steady stream of blood flows from the wounds. Veterinary attention should be sought to stop the bleeding.
If tissue hangs down more than 2cms from the wounds, it may be at risk of further trauma or at increased risk of becoming infected. Please call the surgery to report the problem for advice and/or further veterinary treatment.
If your horse appears to be straining whilst trying to urinate, please seek veterinary attention immediately.
This is when the intestines find their way out through the surgical wounds. It is the most severe and one of the most uncommon complications. It occurs because the abdominal cavity lining in which the intestines sit communicates with the scrotal sac. Horses often show colic signs and veterinary attention should be sought immediately. Horses with eventration usually have a poor prognosis.
All this information is not intended to worry you, but to make you aware of some complications that can occur so that you can notify us quickly of any difficulties and we can provide the best veterinary care to your horse. If you have any concerns, please telephone the practice sooner rather than later!