VVV Episode 7: The "Almost" Castration

The other day we were called out to perform a routine castration on a miniature horse… or so we thought.

We performed a physical exam on the little stud and determined that he was good to go ahead with the surgery.  We administered his pre-anesthetic drugs to make him a bit sleepy, and proceeded to palpate the inguinal region. What we found there was not quite what we expected: there was only one testicle in the scrotum. This little mini is a cryptorchid.

Cryptorchids are intact males with one or both testicles absent from the scrotum. Cryptorchids are still producing the same amount of testosterone as a normal intact male, but they are usually less fertile due to the improper placement and temperature of the testis. Since this patient was just over a year old, we could safely say that the testicle is stuck somewhere in the abdominal cavity, as both testes would have normally descended by this age.  Often, veterinarians can coax the “missing” testicle downwards into the scrotum. Unfortunately, we were not able to do so in this case. Cryptorchid correcting surgery requires a full surgical facility as sometimes it can get quite complicated. It is very important that if you have a cryptorchid, you do NOT proceed with the castration and remove only one descended testicle. It is best to wait until a full surgery can remove both testicles at once.

This sleepyhead just ended up getting a hoof trim instead of a castration for now. I’m sure he’s okay with it.


(turn the sound on!)

Moral of the story:  ALWAYS check to see how many testicles there are!