Most people will not have to endure the castration process, as mares and geldings are the most bought by most horse owners unless being brought into a breeding program. But in our area, and with the amount of rescues I take in, a good bit of them are still stallions. Be it young or older stallions, they can be quite the handful and to the wrong people extremely dangerous to human and animals. If you are the likely recipient of a stallion and have to go through the gelding process, here are some handy hints to help your horse get through the process as easily as possible.
First is the actual process of castration - do not attempt to do this on your own or trust a NON-Vet to do this for you. You can do major damage and possibly kill your horse if things are not done properly and sterile. You also risk not doing the castration process correctly and end up with a horse that cannot reproduce yet still acts like a stallion, and the vet bill to fix this can be outrageous. Please have a skilled vet do this and save you the long term hassle. The castration process can be done in a number of ways. Here in Georgia, our horses are sedated and laid down, faces are covered to minimize fighting or confusion, hind leg is held up with a pulley system, and the castration is done with a mechanical drill that spins and severs the cord. This creates an instant clamping of the cord to minimize bleeding. I prefer the simpler method of clamping and tying off the cord, but every vet is different and there are many ways this process can be accomplished. All with the same ultimate goal, a gelding!
The aftercare is the most important part and can make or break this operation. There is typically a normal amount of blood resulting and can drip for several days (slowly) and still be considered normal. You want to follow all of your vet's instructions, but they will typically consist of the same regiment.
Do not restrict movement. They need to be in a round-pen and small paddock area so that they can freely walk to help reduce swelling. If your horse is stalled, then several fifteen minute walks a day will be required to keep the swelling at a minimum. But turnout in my opinion is the best. Turnout can be with normal pasture mates as long as they are not too rowdy. Pain medicine such as Bute or Banamine for the first three days is recommended. Also some vets do a round of antibiotics in these three days also. I use Poly-Flex and Gentocin injection for three days, just to help prevent any infection that may occur. It is easier to prevent an infection than to get rid of one. Cold hose the area for fifteen minutes at least twice a day. Keep it free of bugs and debris as much as possible. It is best to geld your horse in the cooler months to avoid a secondary infection from flies and bugs. Watch for any colic behavior or just stiffness in walk. Some the first day is fairly normal but after that I usually do not notice an issue unless there is something going on. Some swelling is normal but should be relatively minimal. There should be minimal heat to the swelling; heat usually means infection. Your horse needs to be separate from mares for two to three weeks post op (possibly a month), as they can still successfully breed a mare at this point until all sperm has been exhausted.
Most gelds go without a hitch if done properly, maintained and done at the right time of year. Just remember that surgery is surgery and keeping the area as clean as possible is your first defense against infection. The incision is not sutured. It is left to drain and can drain for approximately two weeks before closing up.
If you are on the fence about gelding, you should really consider all the good reasons. You and your horse will be much happier, safer and healthier in the long run. Hope you enjoyed reading and don’t forget to cast your vote and comments!
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