Can Cold Temperatures Affect Castration?

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Can Cold Temperatures Affect Castration?

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  • Castrating colts in cold weather
  • What temperatures is it ok to castrate a horse

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    11-26-2012, 12:04 PM
Can Cold Temperatures Affect Castration?

So I'm relatively fed up with my barn's go-to veterinarian, but I thought I would ask around before going to someone else...

Situation: Hubby and I rescued a little 7-month old AQHA colt last week. He will be staying in my boarding facility's pasture 24/7 with my mare and about 8 other horses (it's a very large pasture). However, it's barn policy (and rightfully so) that any colt/stallion, no matter the age, cannot be turned out with the mares, just in case. I completely agree with the policy, so we scheduled Rebel's castration for today. (Also, rescuing this baby is an unexpected expense during the holiday season and keeping him in a stall is costing us a lot more than if we could put him into the pasture. We can afford it, but I'm a penny pincher so I wanted to get him out and into the fresh air ASAP.)

Here's the problem: Vet called this morning to say it is "too cold" to do the castration and that he was rescheduling for Friday. Umm... What? I live in Nebraska. Today at 3:30 (when the appt. Was) it is supposed to be almost 40 degrees. We were planning to do the procedure in the indoor arena. Granted, the indoor arena has no heat source, but it keeps out wind and any kind of precipitation so it's always at least a few degrees warmer in there. Because vet decided to reschedule, hubby and I will be paying an extra 7-9 days of stall rate board instead of pasture rate.

Here's my question: Is there a medical reason that the procedure cannot be done in lower temperatures? Something that would affect the horse? Or is vet just trying to be more comfortable? I'm originally from Colorado. Both CO and NE tend to have very harsh winters, and 35-40 degrees is NOTHING. Vet has lived here for a long time, so I'm not sure why he would be so whimpy about lower temps. That's why I wondered if there might be a medical reason behind it.

If there is no medical reason, hubby and I will be looking for a different vet. I really don't want to deal with a wussy one. Thanks for all opinions and input!

P.S. Yes, we can afford our horses and have money set aside for emergencies. But we don't like to use it for silly things like a vet not liking the cold.
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    11-26-2012, 01:59 PM
I had Walter gelded this past February, outdoors. It was below 0 celcius for sure, and it's better to do the gelding when it's cold and no flies. I don't know if 40F is cold or not.. but I know my vet didn't want to geld Walter when it was -30C lol.
    11-26-2012, 02:32 PM
There is a concern that when temps drop and you sedate the colt, he can not properly regulate his body temperature which could lead to other complications. If he is a ”rescue” with other compromising issues, I think the vet's concerns are valid. My vets won't do it when it's in the low 40's.
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    11-26-2012, 02:58 PM
Ok, thanks for the info! He's mostly healthy, just has hooves that are way too long (trimming is scheduled) and he may have a wormy belly. He's not underweight or sick. Would a blanket or cooler help the situation? I asked the vet's assistant and she said she'd ask him about it asap.
Xxdanioo, 0 celsius is 32 degrees fahrenheit, if that gives you a little reference.
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    11-26-2012, 03:53 PM
Eh, I got my colt gelded when it was in the teens and spitting sleet and he did fine.

If you wanted, you could probably try another vet, but at this point, any other vet wouldn't likely be able to get you in any sooner than Friday anyway.
    11-26-2012, 04:20 PM
Green Broke
I am not a vet but I can't say I have ever heard of why they couldn't do it in chilly weather.

Although the body temperature thing does make sense. But then again, they're back to normal in a couple hours when they wake up.

Is there a heated area anywhere in the barn that would alleviate this problem?

I would think the cold air would help with clotting (errr freezing) any blood.
    11-26-2012, 04:30 PM
Going by the signs helps more than anything. This applies to weaning, castration, tipping horns in cattle, etc. I'd make sure and do it by the signs. You'll be amazed how quickly they heal as opposed to doing it at the wrong time.
    11-26-2012, 04:32 PM
The cold also helps with post-op swelling. Taz didn't swell up hardly at all after he was gelded...and he had hernia surgery at the same time.
    11-26-2012, 07:07 PM
I thought it would help with swelling as well... We're looking into getting a vet that I've used once before out to do it. He's farther away but the other vet has been hard to work with today and did not call back with info like they had promised. I'm not very happy with them at all. And I really like the other vet. Would have been using him all along but I didn't know he drove out this far until a fellow horsey friend in town told me she uses him.

6W Ranch, could you please explain? I've never heard of gelding "by the signs" before...
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    11-26-2012, 08:43 PM
Yes, it has to do with the zodiac signs and specifically the gravitational pull of the moon. There is truth to the saying emergency rooms are more crowded on a full moon.

You always want to castrate on dates below the groin, going downward (see chart). Each month has a specific window of ideal days for this. Man of The Signs Zodiac Moon's Sign Calendar Astrological Place Chart

We always try to go by the signs when doing any type of elective weaning, and castration. The dates vary depending if you are weaning, castrating, etc. Calves weaned according to the dates only bawl about 2 days, and there is less sickness. If weaned at the wrong time, they bawl 3-4 days, and they may be a little more puny/more likely to get sick. Same with the cows, they bawl longer for their babies.

Also, I have found that when gelding a colt in this time frame, it's an excellent opportunity to back the colt for the first time. I was riding my colt in 2 days. He had no swelling, no discomfort, but wasn't feeling quite good enough to buck me off. Of course I had done the proper ground work before hand, but was waiting for him to be slightly vulnerable. He healed beautifully, and I never looked back with his training. Never skipped a beat.

Cooler weather def. Helps with swelling and flies, but not doing it during the right signs can be as bad or worse than castration during hot, humid fly season.

Vets downplay this, as they can't schedule things around the signs, but the vets we know, know the truth of the signs.

This link explains it well, and we operate the same way:

Just check the farmers almanac, and make sure moon signs are in the "thighs" going "down".
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