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Equine Practice
Surgical management of cryptorchidism in the horse
  1. Bruce Bladon

    Bruce Bladon graduated from Edinburgh in 1988. After spending some time in mixed and equine practice, and completing a residency in equine surgery at Bristol, he took up the position of principal equine surgeon in his present practice in Newbury, where he later became a partner. He is primarily responsible within the practice for the equine surgical caseload. He holds certificates in equine practice and equine surgery (soft tissue) and a diploma in equine soft tissue surgery. He is a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons and an RCVS Specialist in Equine Surgery.


ANY horse with no palpable scrotal testicles is potentially a cryptorchid, while a horse with only one palpable testicle is almost invariably a cryptorchid. In most cases, a horse with no palpable scrotal testicles is a gelding, but up to 15 per cent of cryptorchid cases are bilateral. Left and right testicles are equally likely to be retained, but while retained there is an increased incidence of incomplete cryptorchidisim on the right side. Cryptorchids can be further classified as inguinal, incomplete abdominal or abdominal, depending on the ultimate location of the testicle. Cryptorchidism is an inherited disorder and, although the genetics of the condition are complex and not completely resolved in the horse, the use of cryptorchid stallions is not recommended. This article discusses a surgical approach to the management of cryptorchidism; namely, preinguinal exploration and castration, and suprapubic paramedian laparotomy.

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