Horse Deals vet Ed Lyall gives the latest advice on why and when to geld your horse
- When it comes to gelding there’s much discussion as to what age is best. Often colts are left entire to see how well they are going to perform in whichever discipline they’ve been bred for and, as such, are maybe not gelded until they are three or four years of age. However, very few horses have enough merit to remain as stallions. There is also a lot of discussion as to whether the testosterone produced by the testicles has any effect on the size and physical development of the horse.
- I tend to advise people to geld their horse depending on both their circumstances and the temperament of the colt. If he is unruly and bad to handle, or if he has to be in close contact with other horses, such as mares or fillies, geld early. However, if his temperament is good and he can be reared with other colts, then leave him for as long as possible. Once gelded, some colts settle quickly due to the testosterone hormone not being produced, whereas some take a little longer.
- Most colts are gelded in the spring and autumn to avoid mud splashing up into the castration wounds when turned out and to avoid the flies. However, with modern techniques it doesn’t matter what time of year they’re cut.
- Prior to starting the procedure, the scrotum is checked to make sure there are two testicles present, as occasionally vets come across a colt that has a testicle retained in the abdomen or in the inguinal canal – these need to be gelded in the operating theatre as the testicles can be tricky to find.
- Some abdominally retained testicles can be removed with laparoscopy and gone are the days of vets removing one testicle and leaving the retained testicle – resulting in a rig – as all reputable vets will make sure both testicles are removed. Sometimes, however, rig-like behaviour can occur if a little of the epididymis is retained during the procedure.
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