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The decision to castrate (geld) a stallion can be difficult. While the surgery is “routine”, there is always the potential for complications during and after the procedure. The most common complications are scrotal swelling and possible infection, both of which may be minimized with proper nutrition and supplements.

In general, the pros of gelding a horse far outweigh the cons. Geldings are usually gentler and less dangerous to handle, work with and ride. Geldings usually are not distracted during rides or competition by mares in heat. Geldings are less likely to try to get to and/or mount a mare which decreases their risk of injury. Geldings are not susceptible to testicular trauma, torsions, or tumors. Geldings will not have their gait altered by having testicles interfere with hind limb motion. Geldings can usually be turned out with other geldings and even some mares which increase their socialization AND exercise, and fulfills their herd relationships.

Being a stallion only offers one benefit, the ability to provide sperm. Many stallions lead a daily life of loneliness, frustration, and boredom being stalled too often and too long since they can’t be turned out with the other horses. If a stallion is never allowed to breed he will not ‘know what he is missing’ when gelded. As stallions age, the testosterone causes increased fat deposits in their necks that can be unattractive and cause the crest and mane to fall to the side.

There are three basic options to consider when scheduling a castration.

  • The procedure can be done at the barn under standing sedation with a local anesthetic in the scrotum and the incision is left open to drain and heal.

  • It can be done at the barn with the horse down under general anesthesia and the incision is left open to drain and heal.

  • The horse may be castrated at a clinic, under general anesthesia, with scrotal tissue removed and the incision closed with sutures.

Either way, castrated males can be happier, healthier, and safer!

This tip is brought to you by KAM Animal Services, home of KAM’s “Equine Learning Circle” free webinars and weekly tips. Go to www.kamanimalservices.com  to register for the next webinar or sign-up to be notified when a new tip comes out. KAM also offers monthly specials. Be sure to check out this month’s special.