What Are Possible Complications of Castrating a Horse?
- Swelling: some swelling is to be expected post-surgery. If you are concerned about how much it is best to call for advice.
- Infection: Infection is a risk with any surgical procedure. Usually it is because the incision has closed early, before drainage has resolved.
- Bleeding: This is a risk in the immediate post-operative period. ‘Open’ castrations (no ligatures) are expected to bleed, but as a general rule of thumb, if you can’t count the drips because it is too fast you need to call the vet. Bloody-coloured fluid can drain from open castration incisions for several days intermittently.
- Eventration: This is a rare but potentially very serious complication where a portion of gut has descended through the inguinal canal and out of the surgical site. If you see anything sausage-like protruding after castration it is an emergency and a vet is required. Rarely, a piece of omentum (lacy-looking tissue) can protrude: this is less serious but still needs seeing by a vet as an emergency.
How To Provide Post-operative Care For a Castrated Horse?
The vet will tell you about how to care for the horse after surgery. As a guide, we recommend the horse is kept in a stable and quiet that night, before being turned out the following day onto a paddock which isn’t too muddy. It is important the horse gets some exercise daily, so if he is not moving around in the paddock then a lead walk twice daily would be advised.
The vet will probably provide you with oral medication to be given twice daily for a period following surgery.
But, don’t panic, although it is a surgical procedure and risks/complications are possible, it is very routine for us and complications are fortunately rare.
To discuss your individual needs/requirements/concerns please give us a call and ask to speak to one of the Devon county equine team.