- Most horses under the age of four are castrated standing; they are given a sedative, painkillers and antibiotics before starting the procedure.
- Local anaesthetic is injected into the testicle and the scrotal skin is cut to reveal the tunic of the testicle and the testicle within it.
- The tunic is cut and the testicle exposed; the blood vessels are then separated from the vas deferens and the nerves supplying the testicle. An emasculator is an instrument used to cut the blood vessels (at the same time as cutting it crushes the vessels preventing bleeding).
- One technique is to apply a clamp to the blood vessels prior to using the emasculator; this clamp can stay on for several hours, ensuring severe bleeding does not occur. The testicle is then removed by emasculating as much of the tunic as possible, the vas deferens and the nerve supply to the testicle.
- The tunic and the scrotal wounds are then left open to drain.
- Possible complications include haemorrhage from the testicular blood vessels. The tunic itself also has some large blood vessels and these can bleed significantly. It’s not unusual for there to be haemorrhage into the scrotum – a blood clot can form as a result and it’s important this is removed fairly soon after castration.
- The risks of haemorrhage and abdominal contents prolapsed are much higher in horses over the age of four, hence most of these should be gelded in an operating theatre under general anaesthetic.
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