Colt Castration - What To Expect

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This article uses the word 'colt' in the British sense of the word, meaning young male horse.
) All colts that are not going to be used for breeding should be castrated.
Many owners love the idea of keeping a stallion to breed from, but unless your horse has fantastic breeding or conformation, it will be better if you have him castrated.
Reasons for castration:
  • The horse-world is overrun by unwanted horses at the moment.
    Many of these horses will end their life in a slaughterhouse because there is nowhere to put them.
    Horse sanctuaries, such as Redwings, are full.
    It is not fair to breed if you cannot guarantee the offspring homes.
  • Geldings tend to be even-tempered and more predictable than stallions.
  • There is no risk of accidental pregnancies if kept near mares.
  • Can usually be kept with mares if their personality is suitable (some geldings still think they are stallions, especially when castrated late, and try to mount mares.
    It is best to keep these away from mares to prevent possible injuries.
  • Most livery yards will not accept stallions.
  • It is easier to sell a gelding if you have to.
The operation A castration is a simple operation that can be carried out in a field or a stable.
The horse will be sedated, the vet will have a feel to make sure that both testicles are present, and then the operation will begin.
The first castration I ever saw was carried out by an old countryside vet who was more at home treating cows and sheep.
After sedation, he pulled the horse down onto its side, asked me to hold the hind leg up, doused the area in disinfectant, quickly made the incision in the scrotum, pulled the testicles out and snapped - yes, snapped! - each one off of its spermatic cord.
He then threw them in the hedge and clamped the wound.
I was shocked.
The operation was so quick and brutal.
Thankfully, in every other castration I have seen, the testicles have been sliced off.
Maybe it is still a little brutal but it is definitely a more dignified way to be separated from your gonads! Modern vets seem to prefer the horse to stand up whilst the procedure is carried out.
The horse is not as heavily sedated and is made to lean against a wall or fence.
It is less distressing for the horse to be operated on this way as most horses do not lie down very often.
Aftercare After the operation, the horse will bleed.
It should be a steady drip-drip-drip.
If you cannot count the drips individually, the horse is bleeding too much and you will need the vet to come back to investigate why.
The bleeding will stop after an hour or so but, obviously, the colt will still be a little sore.
Many vets recommend turnout after the operation because movement will prevent the area filling up with fluid.
It also helps to take the horse's mind off what has happened to him.
Flies may bother him a little but you don't need to worry about them if your vet has given you a course of antibiotics.
If you are concerned, try spraying the horse with a fly deterrent - obviously don't spray it anywhere near the operation site.
Conclusion Castration is a simple procedure.
The operation only takes around 5-10 minutes, and the horse is back to his usual self within a day.
It is very rare for there to be any complications.
The benefits of castration definitely outweigh any argument for leaving a colt entire.
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