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Castration Technique Could Reduce Complications

Thursday, 3rd July 2008

A new sterilisation technique "that leaves a stallion's testicles in place but non-functioning might provide a safe, simple & reliable alternative to traditional castration methods," reported thehorse.com. Using the "Section-Ligation-Release" procedure tested by Iranian researchers, a horse's testicles "are not extracted as in standard castration techniques; instead, the 2 spermatic cords (which provide blood & nerve supply to the testicles) are clamped, severed & sealed via a 2-inch incision on each side of the scrotum". Within 2 months, the intact testicles "degenerate & testosterone falls to levels similar to those of traditionally castrated geldings", according to the researchers, whose study is scheduled for publication in a forthcoming issue of Reproduction In Domestic Animals. Associate Professor of veterinary surgery Siamak Saifzadeh at Iran's Urmia University explained: "It's just 2 small incisions followed by a few minutes of manipulation on the spermatic cords & then you close up the wounds & it's done. It's so easy, both for the horse & the horse's caretakers, as SLR requires less post-operative care than traditional castration." Saifzadeh added the new SLR technique "reduces the risk of post-operative bleeding & severe swelling at the incision sites or in the prepuce, which are common complications of standard castrations; & risks of parasite & bacterial infections are also reduced". Saifzadeh noted the "oxygen-deprived testicles gradually shrink & become a mass of benign fibrous tissue, whereas the surrounding tissues remain healthy & well-supplied with blood & nerves". None of the 5 study stallions (aged 2-4 years) presented evidence of spermatic cord reattachment in the months following the procedure. And Saifzadeh said the aesthetic benefits of SLR "are not to be overlooked, as the geldings have a more natural appearance with only slight scarring". However he noted that, in order to distinguish SLR geldings from stallions, especially in the event of the sale of a horse, the castration must be noted in the horse's health records & identification documents.

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