Unless you are planning to use your colt castration for breeding purposes, we recommend gelding him before he reaches two years of age. Late fall is a great time to consider the procedure due to the milder temperatures lessening insect populations. These cooler temperatures result in a lower complication rate associated with infection.
The technique that we use for gelding is called “open castration.” The horse is put under a short general anesthesia and laid down in a clean, level area. Two incisions are made directly over the scrotum and are left open to drain. The incisions will heal within 14-21 days. Regular turnout and exercise during this time is helpful for promoting drainage and decreasing swelling. A recent tetanus vaccination (administered within the last 3 months) is required. This procedure can be performed either at your farm or at the clinic.
Another technique that can be performed under gas anesthesia on a surgery table at a referral clinic is a “closed castration.” This procedure is used especially for cryptorchid stallions, or ones in which both testicles have not descended into the scrotum. These horses have at least one testicle still in their abdomen or inguinal ring. Most newborn colts already have both testicles down in their scrotum, but they should drop within the first few months of life at the latest.
If you have any questions regarding this or any other aspect of castrating your horse, please feel free to call the clinic or schedule an appointment for your horse to be seen by one of our veterinarians.