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At the Time of Surgery

The surgical procedure varies slightly depending on the age and size of animal, however normally an “open castration” is performed, and the wounds are left open to drain.

At the time of surgery, the two major complications include bleeding and, very rarely, herniation of abdominal contents 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 – call us immediately if you are in any doubt.

Discharge from the Wounds

Light bleeding or a thin discharge from the wound sites is normal. However, if it is a fast drip or stream of blood, contact the vet immediately. If the discharge becomes smelly or thick after a few days, then contact the clinic as the wound may be infected.


Some swelling of the sheath is normal after castration and this can 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. Anti-inflammatory medication is often dispensed at the time of castration.


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.

The Wounds

The wounds should scab over and heal within approximately 3 weeks.


It can take several weeks for colt-like behaviour to subside and some geldings retain the ability to gain an erection or show behaviour such as herding or mounting mares. We advise that the recently castrated colt is not turned out with mares for between 1 - 2 months post-castration.