Castration of colts is a routine surgery we can carry out either at your premises or at the Fairmoor Equine Clinic.

We recommend castrations are performed in the spring or autumn months in order to avoid the flies and muddy fields in the winter as these increase the risk of wound infection. Both testicles need to be present in the scrotum and the animal has to be strong enough to withstand the procedure. It is a stressful period for foals so it may be more suitable to castrate prior to weaning.

Castrations are normally done in the standing sedated animal for colts up to two years old and under general anaesthetic for older animals. Some exceptions to this exist, such as ponies which are too small for us to safely work under.

Routine standing castration involves the vet making two incisions in the skin, through which the testes are removed, prior to clamping and cutting the blood vessels and spermatic cord. Pain relief will be provided at the time of the procedure and it is important to ensure that the colt has either started his tetanus vaccinations or is given tetanus antitoxin.

All surgery involves an element of risk including during and after

At the time of surgery

At the time of surgery the two major complications include bleeding and, very rarely, herniation of abdominal components through the castration wound. These can occur at the time of surgery, and up to approximately 24-36 hours after surgery. A careful check underneath your horse to see if there is any dripping or any tissue protruding from the wounds should reveal any problems.


If your horse is off-colour, has a reduced appetite, is unwilling to move around or showing any other concerning symptoms then do not hesitate to contact us.


Some swelling of the sheath is normal after castration and this could last for up to a week. Turnout and hand walking as advised by the attending vet should help this settle quickly. If this swelling is excessive or tracking up over his scrotum then the vet should be contacted.

Discharge from the wounds

Occasionally a small amount of thin discharge will occur from the wound sites however if this persists for longer than a few days or is more than just a drip or two, or if the discharge is smelly or thick then the vet must be contacted.

The wounds

The wounds should scab over and heal within approximately three weeks.

Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns at any time.

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