Urogenital Surgery

Castration with border.jpgSurgery of the urogenital tract involves any type of surgical procedure that involves either the urinary or reproductive systems.  The most common procedure performed on the male horse, by far is castration.  This procedure is usually performed in the standing horse with sedation and local anesthesia or your horse may be given a short-acting intravenous anesthetic.  In either cast the classic approach is to leave an open incision to heal following the procedure.  In 1980 Dr. Palmer pioneered an alternative approach to castration of horses that involved castration followed by removal of the scrotum and primary closure of the incision. This procedure eliminates the post-operative complications of hemorrhage, evisceration and infection that can occur with open castrations.  Horses are generally resume regular work within a week or two of surgery.  Primary-closure castration is now commonly performed in clinics throughout the world and may be used to castrate cryptorchid horses as well as normal colts.  

For obvious reasons, sterilization of mares is much less commonly performed than castration of colts.  Indications for ovariectomy of the mare include modification of behavior and tumors of the ovary.  Ovariectomy was initially performed in standing mares through a vaginal incision and later done under general anesthesia.  In 1983 Dr. Palmer published the first report describing the use of the laparoscope to remove ovaries from mares.  Laparoscopic ovariectomy is usually done with the mare standing in stocks, but may also be used with the mare under general anesthesia.  The principle advantage of laparoscopic ovariectomy is the reduced trauma to the mare, rapid recovery with minimal discomfort and the elimination for the need for general anesthesia in most cases.


 The development of uterine cysts in the mare may prevent normal implantation of the embryo in the wall of the uterus and cause infertility.  These cysts may be removed by passing an endoscope into the vagina with the mare sedated and restrained in stocks.  The uterus is inflated with gas and the cysts are eliminated by laser ablation.  This procedure is performed on an outpatient basis at the New Jersey Equine Clinic.  


Repair of foaling injuries is an important aspect of assuring the fertility of broodmares.    Cervical lacerations and lacerations of the rectum and vagina require surgical repair.  Some of these injuries are immediately obvious after foaling, while others (cervical lacerations) may not be discovered until the mare is examined for breeding.  These procedures are performed at the New Jersey Equine Clinic with sedation and epidural anesthesia while the mare restrained in stocks.


Surgery of the urinary tract most commonly includes treatment of injuries of the penis and removal of neoplasia.  Surgeons at the New Jersey Equine Clinic use the Carbon Dioxide Surgical Laser for removal of most neoplastic lesions.  This technology reduces hemorrhage and provides a thermal non-contact means to destroy tumor cells that may be left behind with conventional dissection.  Urine pooling in the mare is a common condition that is associated with decreased conception rates and early embryonic death.  Definitive correction of this condition requires surgical modification of the opening of the urethra.  This procedure is another of the many standing surgical procedures that are performed on an outpatient basis at the New Jersey Equine Clinic. Removal of bladder stones and urethral obstructions and repair of urethral lacerations are a few of the many other urogenital procedures that our surgeons perform at the clinic.