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Gelding A Horse: Why It's Different Than Castrating A Bull

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When farmers want to castrate a bull and turn it into a steer, they often use rubber bands to cut off the circulation to the bull's testicles. If done effectively and correctly, the veterinarian is not needed. When you geld a horse, you cannot use the same technique, and you should actually have a veterinarian perform the procedure. Here are the differences between these similar procedures, and why you need your vet for one and not the other.

Bull Testicles Hang Really Low

Bull testicles hang really low. If you have ever viewed the business end of a bull, you will see that the testicles and the bull's scrotum dangle low and appear to be attached by a very thin piece of flesh. That is why they can be removed, non-surgically, by the farmer with large rubber bands. The rubber bands are twisted very tightly around the thin piece of flesh above the testicles and scrotum. If the bands become loose, the farmer twists and tightens them some more. After some time, with a lack of blood flow, the testicles and scrotum die, rot and fall off. The vet only has to be called if there are signs of an infection present.

Horse Testicles Can Be Pulled Upward into the Abdomen

Stallions are like human males; their testicles can be pulled upwards into the abdomen to protect them. For this reason, it becomes very difficult to isolate the testicles, and then rubber-band them off from the rest of the stallion's body. Additionally, the stallion is much more dangerous during this process, because he will still pursue and mount mares, fight, kick, and bite everyone and everything else.

However, if the vet comes out and does a little barnyard surgery to geld the stallion, he becomes gentler and more tame within a week or two. This is important to note, since the banding process can take a month or two to take full effect. Furthermore, horses are prone to infection more than cattle because they are exposed to more flies and pests that target them. Quickly and surgically removing a stallion's testicles to geld him means that you are saving the horse's life in more ways than one.

Scheduling Your Gelding Procedure

Gelding your stallion takes very little time, too. A skilled vet can tranquilize your horse, perform field surgery to remove the testicles, and be gone in a matter of thirty minutes or less. If there are complications in getting the horse to lay down or isolating the testicles from the abdominal wall, it may take around an hour, but vets are pretty good about scheduling your horse's surgery on a day and time that works for you.