We can perform the procedure either standing under light sedation, or under general anaesthetic.


Whilst this is a routine surgery, all surgical procedures carry risk and we endeavour to keep our patients as safe as possible by offering the highest standards of care.

If you want to discuss options for castrating your colt or if you have any concerns please contact the practice.

Open Castration

Routine castration of horses less than four years of age and which have not been used for breeding are usually done by open castration.

The procedure is usually carried out with the patient standing using deep sedation and local anaesthetic.

After the surgery the testicular sac and scrotal wounds are left open to drain to prevent the trapping of infection.

There is a very small risk of prolapse of abdominal contents through the inguinal canals which extend from the scrotal sac to the inside of the abdomen, making this procedure unsuitable for stallions.

The day after an open castration we recommend patients are turned out as much as possible to encourage wound drainage and prevent swelling.

Closed Castrations

In horses four years old and over, or those who have been used for breeding, the inguinal canals are larger and the risk of prolapse of abdominal contents is higher. It is therefore recommended that castration is performed using a closed procedure.

The canals are sutured closed which means the procedure must be performed under general anaesthesia and sterile surgical conditions in our surgical suite at the practice.

The procedure is longer than an open castration and as such we have two vets involved in the procedure, one operating and one performing the anaesthetic.

Following a closed castration there is less risk of post-operative bleeding, infection and swelling.

Retained Testicles

In some horses the testicle on one or both sides fails to drop into the scrotum and is retained at some point between the kidney and the inguinal canal where they exit the abdomen into the scrotum. This is known as cryptorchidism.

Internal testicles may develop into tumours and therefore should be removed.

Cryptorchidism is also a heritable trait and the sons of these animals are also likely to be affected, so they should not be used for breeding.

Removal of a testicle in the inguinal canal may be possible via an incision in the scrotum, but for abdominal testicles an opening is created into the abdomen and the testicle located and removed.

This is a much more involved and complex surgery, as the abdomen is entered and requires full surgical sterility. It can be a prolonged procedure as locating the testicle can be difficult.

After removal of the testicle the abdominal wound is closed and the external testicle removed using the closed technique.

This procedure can be done laparoscopically or by traditional abdominal surgery.

A more prolonged period of box rest is required to reduce the risk of breakdown in the abdominal wound.

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