Quote 4the day: Horses are great listeners, they only charge carrots :o)
Fact 4the day: Undescended Testicles in horses
Cryptorchidism in Horses
Cryptorchidism occurs only in male horses – for obvious reasons. It is characterized by the failure of one or both of the testicles to drop down from the abdominal cavity after birth. It can affect any male horse, and is suspected to be an inherited condition.
Cryptorchidism is not apparent at birth, as the testes do not drop from the abdominal space, through the inguinal canal and ring and into the scrotum – where they remain – until around two weeks of age. In some cases, the testes appear normal, and the stallion will behave in a normal way, as testosterone production is not affected.
There are different types of cryptorchidism, depending on where in the abdominal body the testes are retained, whether one or both of the testes are retained, or whether the male horse was gelded without ever having been diagnosed with cryptorchidism (which can become a behavioral issue). In some cases, the horse may have been without one of its testicles, though this is rare.
If one or both of the testicles remain in the abdomen, the horse is said to be a rig, or ridgling.
Symptoms and Types
Bilateral cryptorchids/Complete rig
•Both testicles remain in the abdomen
•Physically appears as a gelding (testes cannot be palpated)
•One testicle remains in abdomen
•May still be fertile
•Stallion-like behavior in a gelding
•No presence of testicular tissue
•Deemed more as social rather than hormonal behavior
Physical lack of testicles
•May still exhibit stallion behavior
Cryptorchidism can be due to hereditary or developmental issues, whereby the testicles fail to drop after birth (around two weeks). Some breeds appear to be more prone to developing this disorder, including saddlebreds and quarter horses.
Your veterinarian will begin by palpating the scrotum and abdomen, both externally and by rectal examination. For a better view of the abdomen and inguinal canal, your doctor can use ultrasound imaging and/or laparoscopy. This latter method uses a small camera that is attached to a flexible tube, and which can be inserted into the abdominal space for a close examination.
In some cases, if the testes can be located in an easy to access place in the abdomen, a laparoscope can also be used to remove the testes. If the testicle is found in the inguinal canal, the surgery may be more complicated, but can still be performed relatively quickly and easily, with a short recovery time.
If your horse is already a gelding, but is exhibiting stallion-like behavior, your doctor will examine the young horse for higher than normal testosterone levels, along with the abdominal and rectal examinations.
There is only one method of treatment for cryptorchidism in horses – surgical removal of both testes. This is to prevent the trait from being passed on to offspring.
In the case of false rigs, the behavior may be cured through the surgical shortening of the spermatic cord stumps. This is a rather common affliction among the equine population and can generally be easily resolved. There are some instances where the gelding is displaying stallion-like behavior simply as the result of learned social behavior or personality. These behaviors are typified by rounding up and covering mares. In these cases, you may need to keep the gelding separate from other males and from mares in heat until the behavior can be brought under control.
Living and Management
The gelding is going to need rest and isolation post-surgery. Surgery, however minor, is painful and uncomfortable. Your veterinarian will advise you on precautions and after surgery procedures you will need to care for your horse as it recovers.
You will need to especially watch out for excessive swelling or inflammation at the surgical site, and for any abnormal behavior from your horse that would indicate that there is an infection so that your veterinarian can be called immediately for consultation.
Most horses with this condition are sterile, but this cannot be taken for granted. If your horse is a cryptorchid, both of the testes will need to be removed entirely since the condition is believed to be inheritable.
Thought 4the day: Patience is a virtue as they say. I often find myself saying to some of the horses have a little patience after all its not a card game lol Its not just the youngsters that can be impatient and it can be for many reasons. Feeds, to be turned out or in, rug change, another horse is getting attention. Anything. Horses can be like or are like children. They can all throw hissy fits ...slightly more alarming then a child as hooves flail everywhere but to me a horse is not dangerous or lethal simply misunderstood. Yes i have met a horse of late that would of killed it but then that was not her fault the pain was extreme and that was what was making her turn and attack. Not from simply thinking i don't like that person it was a tumour. These things need investigating not just labeling. If we labeled all people where would we be??