Managing Castration Complications in the Field

For gelding, postoperative problems can range from mild swelling to devastating intestinal prolapse.
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Routine equine surgical procedures are just that—routine. But that doesn’t mean complications don’t develop. Take castration, for example. It’s one of the most common elective surgical procedures performed in the field, but sometimes things go wrong. Veterinarians must be prepared well in advance to manage any postoperative problems, which for gelding can range from mild swelling to devastating intestinal prolapse.

To that end, P.O. Eric Mueller, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, professor and director of equine programs at the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine, in Athens, reviewed how practitioners can prevent and manage castration complications in the field at the 2015 American Association of Equine Practitioners’ Convention, held Dec. 5-9 in Las Vegas.

In previous studies researchers reported a complication rate of about 10%, he said. Of those, the vast majority were considered mild, about 20% were considered moderate, and just 3% were considered severe. But severe can mean death in some cases, so knowing how to respond is crucial

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Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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