Cryptorchidism, or often referred to as ‘Cryptoid’, is when the stallion's testicles have not descended. The testicles have been retained anywhere from the abdomen to the inguinal canal and have not and will not drop into the scrotom.
A single cause of equine cryptorchidism has not yet been established and the causes remain obscure. This condition is more than likely the result of a combination of hormones and genetic factors. Although the testicles are undescended they still produce hormones, which lead to characteristic stallion behaviour. The undescended testicles will often be smaller than normal and may not have formed correctly.
Now that you all have an idea of the condition, I will share my personal experience with this condition, which I shared with my boy Pepsi.
5 months ago, I organised for my local vet to come and geld my 2 year old Thoroughbred stallion, named Pepsi. The Vet came and prepared his equipment to perform the procedure. I lead Pepsi to the area where he was to undergo his procedure and held his rope so the vet could inspect his ‘manhood’. Much to our astonishment, Pepsi had no visual signs of testicles. The vet then decided that sedation was the only way to see what was going on. At first, the vet thought that he may have previously been gelded but could not find any scarring to back this up. Once Pepsi was nice and calm under sedation, the vet started feeling around his ‘manhood’ to try and locate his testicles; as under sedation they drop, but he couldn’t feel anything.
After 15 minutes of trying to locate Pepsi’s testicles, the vet diagnosed him with Cryptorchidism. He then advised me that my options were to either sell him, or send him to the knackery, as Cryptoid stallions can turn aggressive towards both people and other horses. He also told me that there was an operation to geld a stallion with this condition, but it would cost near $3000 and I'd have to travel 2 hours with him.
I completely lost it and started to cry as soon as the vet left. I sat in the paddock with Pepsi for hours, hugging him and crying. Pepsi came to me from a neglectful home, and all I could think was ‘when is this poor soul going to catch a break’. There was no way I could ever sell him or send him to his death.
Months went by and I saw no change in his behaviour or the way he interacted with other horses and people, so I decided to hold off the operation and save up as much as I could. To this day he is still the happy and affectionate horse that I've known and loved since I got him.
A week ago I contacted a different vet, who will come pick Pepsi up, take him away for his operation, and bring him back to me, for only $1200. Not only had I found a vet that was half the amount earlier quoted, but they were nice enough to let me pay the bill off fortnightly as I’m only on a pension.
Pepsi is being picked up at 4pm Thursday for his operation. And I have to say, I am a ball of nerves!!
Saturday I received the phone call from the vet that I had been anticipating! Pepsi’s operation was done, and he was fine. During his operation, the vet stumbled upon some internal scarring, and one testicle missing. Someone had previously tried to geld him and left him one testicle down, and scarring to his other testicle and insides. The remaining testicle was as high up in the abdomen as it could have possibly been. All this being said, my boy is doing fine and will be home next week. And I cannot wait, I have been missing this boy immensely.
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