How to Castrate a Horse

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Most horses, regardless of their age, are maintained by their owners for the sole purpose of riding. If you have a male stallion that you want to ride rather than breed, you might want to seriously consider castrating the horse. Otherwise, you'll be dealing with behavioral problems and serious boarding issues.

Things You'll Need

  • Nose twitch
  • Anesthesia
  • Betadine scrub
  • Syringes
  • Needles
  • Surgical gloves
  • Scalpel and scalpel handle
  • gauze pads
  • Emasculators
  • Forceps

Know What You're Doing

  • Understand that you shouldn't ever castrate a horse without the supervision or instruction of a licensed veterinarian. Should you make a mistake, or fail to remove all of the testicles, you could wind up with a sick or injured horse, or a horse that isn't thoroughly gelded.

  • Decide whether you want to castrate the horse in the standing or recumbent position. When standing, a local anesthetic is used on the testicle cords, and the surgery is performed with the veterinarian standing next to the horse. In the recumbent position, however, the horse is lying prone on its side with the veterinarian kneeling next to him.

  • Examine the horse to make sure he is in good condition before you start the castration process. Listen to his heart and stop the procedure if the heart rate is too high, and make sure the testicles are descended by palpating them with your gloved hand.

  • Administer the anesthetic cocktail for a recumbent castration. Xylazine, diazepam, ketamine and lidocaine HCL are the most common drugs used for this procedure, but ask your veterinarian what he recommends. The horse will go down fairly quickly, so make sure to hold him by the halter with both hands to ensure he doesn't injure himself.

  • Hobble the horse's top rear leg to his halter with the lead rope, making sure there isn't sufficient play in the rope for the horse to kick out, but that it's loose enough so you cannot cause spinal damage.

  • Scrub the entire pelvic region with the Betadine scrub, making sure to get the area immediately surrounding the testicles as thoroughly as possible.

  • Open the scrotum with the scalpel so that you can clearly see the testicles, then remove them with the emasculator. Make sure that you get the entire testicle because if you leave a portion inside the scrotum, it will still be able to produce testosterone and the horse will have the personality of a stallion.

  • Administer a tetanus booster as well as antibiotics to guard against infection.

  • Wait for the horse to come around, which could be up to an hour after you castrate the horse. Then, when he seems stable enough, hold his lead rope firmly while you help him to stand, then take him directly to his stall.

  • Give the horse about 24 hours of stall rest after you finish the castration, then conduct thirty minutes of forced exercise every day for approximately a week, and hydro the pelvic region for fifteen minutes each day.

Tips & Warnings

  • Feed your horse the night before you castrate him, but not that morning, to guard against colic. Have an extra dose of anesthetic during the surgery just in case he comes out of it too early.

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