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Incidence, management, and outcome of complications of castration in equids: 324 cases (1998–2008)

Isabelle KilcoyneWilliam D. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.

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Johanna L. WatsonDepartment of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.

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Philip H. KassDepartment of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.

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Sharon J. SpierDepartment of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.

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Abstract

Objective—To determine the incidence of complications and identify risk factors associated with development of complications following routine castration of equids.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—311 horses, 10 mules, and 3 donkeys.

Procedures—Medical records of equids undergoing routine castration were reviewed. Age, breed, surgical techniques (closed vs semiclosed castration and use of ligatures), anesthesia method (general IV anesthesia vs standing sedation with local anesthesia) and repeated administration of IV anesthetic agents, administration of antimicrobials and anti-inflammatory drugs, and details regarding development, management, and outcome of complications were recorded. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were determined. Associations between additional doses of anesthetic agents during surgery and development of complications were analyzed with a Jonckheere-Terpstra test.

Results—33 of 324 (10.2%) equids developed a complication after surgery; 32 recovered and 1 was euthanized because of eventration. Equids that underwent semiclosed castration had significantly higher odds of developing a complication (OR, 4.69; 95% confidence interval, 2.09 to 10.6) than did those that underwent closed castration. Equids that received additional doses of anesthetic agents to maintain adequate general anesthesia developed complications more frequently than those that did not require this treatment.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Incidence of complications was low, and most evaluated variables were not significantly associated with development of complications following castration in equids. However, findings suggested that the choice of surgical technique (closed vs semiclosed) is an important factor in this regard. Future studies should investigate whether duration of surgery is associated with complications following castration in equids.

Abstract

Objective—To determine the incidence of complications and identify risk factors associated with development of complications following routine castration of equids.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—311 horses, 10 mules, and 3 donkeys.

Procedures—Medical records of equids undergoing routine castration were reviewed. Age, breed, surgical techniques (closed vs semiclosed castration and use of ligatures), anesthesia method (general IV anesthesia vs standing sedation with local anesthesia) and repeated administration of IV anesthetic agents, administration of antimicrobials and anti-inflammatory drugs, and details regarding development, management, and outcome of complications were recorded. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were determined. Associations between additional doses of anesthetic agents during surgery and development of complications were analyzed with a Jonckheere-Terpstra test.

Results—33 of 324 (10.2%) equids developed a complication after surgery; 32 recovered and 1 was euthanized because of eventration. Equids that underwent semiclosed castration had significantly higher odds of developing a complication (OR, 4.69; 95% confidence interval, 2.09 to 10.6) than did those that underwent closed castration. Equids that received additional doses of anesthetic agents to maintain adequate general anesthesia developed complications more frequently than those that did not require this treatment.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Incidence of complications was low, and most evaluated variables were not significantly associated with development of complications following castration in equids. However, findings suggested that the choice of surgical technique (closed vs semiclosed) is an important factor in this regard. Future studies should investigate whether duration of surgery is associated with complications following castration in equids.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Kilcoyne (isabellekilcoyne@hotmail.com).