Horse Castration

Most of us are not set up for, and do not wish to handle a stallion, so the majority of male equines are castrated to prevent the unwanted behavior that is associated with sexually mature, entire animals. Castration is a common procedure but it is not without complications which are commonly exempt from cover by insurance, so think carefully before purchasing a colt.

Most colts are castrated at a young age but sometimes older stallions undergo the procedure. Sexually active males that are castrated will usually retain stallion like behaviour following surgery.

We try to castrate most animals in the spring or autumn to avoid the complications associated with flies and mud.

All castrations in this practice are done under general anaesthesia. It may be appropriate to do this at home on your property if facilities are suitable. In many instances it will be preferable for this to be done at the surgery on a day patient basis. Anaesthesia always carries a risk in equines and though this is relatively low in young fit animals the possibility of complications (potentially fatal) is still present and should be appreciated. Please inform your insurance company prior to the date of surgery.

Requirements for geldings at home

  1. Safe loose box of adequate size (at least 3m x 3m) for a 15.2 hh horse, there must be no sharp projections on the wall on which the horse might injure itself.
  2. A deep clean straw bed to provide padding during anaesthesia, other types of bedding (shavings or saw dust) are not suitable.
  3. The patient should have nothing to eat for 12 hours prior to surgery. Access to water should be allowed until 2 hours before.
  4. A confident handler who may be asked to assist should be available.

If your vet suggests or if these conditions are not available the operation should be done at our surgery.

For geldings done at home, a consent form will need to be signed before the procedure can go ahead. You can either return it to us prior to, or have it available for the vet on the day of the procedure. To download a consent form, please click here, or when you phone the practice to book your horse in, we can post you one.

It is important that animals are able to be walked out following surgery so a clean area must be available for this and the animal should be trained to walk in a halter, this should be done at least twice a day. Training is particularly important in donkeys that often are not halter trained.

The incision sites should be monitored following surgery. If anything is protruding from the wound please phone and speak to a vet immediately. There will often be a small amount of bleeding from the incision sites and this is okay as long as you can count the drips. If there is excessive bleeding or you are in any doubt please phone and discuss it with one of our vets. There will usually be some localized swelling around the incision site for a few days following surgery but if does not resolve or is excessive with discharge the horse should be re-examined. Your horse should be bright and willing to move around freely at all times. If you are in any doubt please phone for advice.

In most instances horses can be turned out within a couple of days of surgery. Your vet will advise you at the time.

Your vet will advise you on any further medication your horse may need over the days following the procedure.