Horse Castration: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

There are health risks for horses being castrated, but vets and owners can work together to manage them.

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No surgical procedure is more commonly performed by equine veterinarians than castration. This might lead horse owners to believe that, because it’s routine surgery, nothing is likely to go wrong, but this could not be further from the truth.

United Kingdom-based equine surgeon Bruce Bladon, BVM&S, Cert EP, DESTS, Dipl. ECVS, MRCVS, spoke at the Australian Veterinary Association’s recent Bain Fallon conference about castration and the misconception that the procedure will always go smoothly. He warned about the health risks to horses undergoing castration and how vets and owners need to work together to successfully manage them.

“Castration is seen as a routine operation but there’s an increased risk of infection and postoperative complications for any surgical procedure completed on a horse,” Bladon said. “And this is something owners need to be mindful of.”

Bladon said castration can be performed via the “open” method or the “closed” method, both of which can result in complications to the health of a horse

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