Does my gelding have discomfort from his castration scar?

It’s a great question and is one that is being asked far more frequently these days as castration surgery is a significant procedure for a horse and our awareness of resulting issues increases.

When tissue is traumatised, such as being cut, the body responds by creating new tissue made from collagen. Unfortunately, when this happens the collagen fibres are not laid in a uniform pattern, so the resulting tissue is often thicker, creating a scar.

Due to this process, scars can be unpredictable with loss of sensation, tightness and pain being the most common issues. To further compound matters, scars run much deeper than the exterior surface that can be seen as the laying of collagen fibres must take place for every layer of tissue (skin, muscle, fascia) that is cut through.

As each layer repairs, the scar tissue that forms can become adhered to other layers around it, or even to surrounding organs, which is what creates the tightness and pain. That tightness in one area then radiates out across the body, much like the image below.

In addition to the layers adhering to each other or surrounding organs, infection can become trapped in between the layers with no way to escape as the layers are overly thick. When an infection becomes trapped in the body this can result in fatigue and compromised health.

So what does this mean for your gelding?

Depending on the severity of the scar tissue and what, if anything, it has become adhered to, your gelding may exhibit one or many of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty or reluctance with lateral movements
  • Lack of forward propulsion or reluctance to move forward freely and willingly
  • Difficulty travelling over poles or jumps due to not lifting his feet well
  • Bucking, particularly in the canter transition
  • Unwillingness to back up

So what can be done?

The scar tissue can be manipulated either internally by a vet, or externally by someone such as myself trained in scar tissue release. The external manipulation process gently releases the tension in the scar, often resulting in significant improvement in the geldings performance and demeanour.

Even better is that it doesn’t matter how old the scar is, the treatment and process is just the same and just as effective.

If you would like to discuss your geldings situation please click here to email me directly.