Castration (or removal of the testicles of male horses) is a common procedure which is routinely done when horses are young to prevent the development of stallion-like behaviour and to modify temperament. Routine castration is a simple procedure which can be performed on farm or in the clinic, and is usually carried out under a short general anaesthetic. Recovery time is generally 2-4 weeks before returning to routine work.
In some cases, instead of being present in the scrotum, the testicles are retained within the groin or in the abdomen. These animals are called ‘cryptorchids’ or sometimes ‘rigs’. The procedure to remove these retained testicles is more complicated and usually involves testing beforehand to confirm the retention and position of the retained testicle. This may include ultrasound and rectal examinations as well as blood tests. These testicles are usually removed surgically under general anaesthesia, however Camden Equine Centre also offers standing laparoscopic castration. Standing laparoscopic castration involves insertion of a camera into the abdomen under heavy sedation. Via video, the surgeons are then able to locate and remove the testicle with specialised surgical instruments. The advantages of the laparoscopic procedure include avoidance of a general anaesthetic, smaller surgical incisions, and a more rapid recovery time in some cases.