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Equine Practice
Complications associated wilth castration in the horse
  1. David Railton

    David Railton graduated from Edinburgh in 1989. After a year in practice he returned to the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies as a Horserace Betting Levy Board resident. During his residency he obtained an MPhil on an equine respiratory project. He subsequently worked in Yorkshire, and then in Kingston, Jamaica. He is currently in equine practice in Victoria, Australia.


CASTRATION is possibly the most common equine surgical procedure performed in general practice, with horses of all types, temperaments and ages being presented for this surgery. Abnormalities of the genital tract which may complicate the procedure may be present, often without the knowledge of the owner. Additionally, in the practice situation, castration is often performed in a less than optimal environment and sometimes without adequate assistance. Complications associated with equine castration range from minor and self-limiting problems, such as postoperative swelling of the surgical site, to life-threatening sequelae, such as severe haemorrhage, eventration (evisceration) or even anaesthetic death. Advanced planning of the castration can help to minimise potential intra- and postoperative problems and a protocol should be in place to manage all potential complications as effectively as possible.

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