Have you noticed changes in your horse after being gelded? Perhaps he moves differently, or urinates differently. If you ride, perhaps there are now bucking or behavioral issues that weren’t there before?
I’m going to share the innovative Osteopathic Veterinarian view and treatment protocols for releasing castration scar tissue and adhesions, and then I’m going to show you what Güliz Ünlü and I did with Montaro when he asked for treatment and help with this area.
Gelding Scars & Performance
One of our Horse Listeners (we have such a fantastic community of switched on people here!) sent me this article from Dr. Tom Beech, an Osteopathic Vet in the UK, which nicely outlines what can go wrong when you have your stallion gelded:
“I revisited a case earlier in the week and it reminded me of how prevalent gelding scar issues are and how much tension they can cause in horses.
Anecdotally it has been found that around A THIRD OF ALL GELDINGS will have some issue relating to the castration scar. When you think about it, that’s quite a few!!
Now, this is not necessarily due to any issue during the castration itself. You could have the most textbook of castrations but still get scar problems.
It is down to the sheer fact that the testicular chords and fascia have been cut and recoil into the abdominal cavity. Here the normal bleeding that occurs and the sealing of the free cut end of the deferent duct and chord can result in adhesions.
These adhesions can lead to tension as they restrict the normal, free motion of the surrounding structures particularly in the groin/inguinal ring.
The tension could therefore affect the nearby muscle, fascia and organs.
In some cases, due to the normal anatomy of the deferent duct being looped over the ureter, any strain on the deferent duct due to adhesions can put pressure on the ureter and affect the kidney.
Clinically I tend to find that these geldings will have a lumbo-sacral issue quite comparable to a mare with ovarian issues. Initially at L1-3 then spreading from there.
The tension in the lumbars often goes hand in hand with a sacral positional change. This can be felt by the rider frequently as an issue going into canter and as a lack of propulsion.
As with most things, over time the problem spreads. So what started in the groin will affect the lumbo-sacral region and the hind limbs. It can then move forward via the spine to the withers and neck or via the diaphragm to the sternum and neck.
The longer the problem goes untreated the more areas become affected.
As a result, those cases that have been left the longest take the longest to fix as there are more secondary areas involved!!
Treatment involves both an external and internal manipulation to remove the tension. The internal manipulation is via a gloved arm under sedation and I have found it to be quite successful.
So remember, if you’re gelding is underperforming then this could need investigating and addressing!!! Get it sorted asap to regain that mobility and regain performance.”
For me, the most striking thing from Tom’s article here is this:
“In some cases, due to the normal anatomy of the deferent duct being looped over the ureter, any strain on the deferent duct due to adhesions can put pressure on the ureter and affect the kidney.”
I’ve had 4 stallions gelded in the last few years, and every single one had to strain more (significantly more) to pee after castration. Which tells me the bladder, or kidney, or ureter etc are being impacted. I’ve pointed this out to vets and just get blank stares.
There is another holistic, osteopathic veterinarian in Canada, Dr. Laura Taylor, who offers a similar treatment. I was super excited when another fellow Horse Listener referred her to me… but after I watched her video (below) of how this scar tissue release is done. Ugh. Not something I would subject my horses to. Surely there is a kinder, gentler way to create shift in these tissues? Where is the craniosacral and energetic medicine in this modality/treatment?
I would love to see an equine osteopath come up with a non-invasive treatment for castration scar tissue and adhesions. Or, the treatment might be invasive, but if the horse is allowed to give permission and wants to have the procedure done, then although it may be uncomfortable, or painful, there is no trauma or psychological/emotional distress caused if the being chooses to lean in the pain.
Our herd guardian, Montaro, once had an extremely painful shoulder adjustment done unhaltered in a 2-acre field by equine chiropractor, Ainsley Beauchamp, when he was a stallion. Ainsley said that not only did he lift his leg for her to pop it back into the joint, but at the most painful part of the adjustment, he leaned into it to help her get the shoulder in faster and more efficiently.
I once had an osteopath in Singapore work on my pelvis. I had given birth about 10 weeks earlier and there was now a massive hematoma in my vagina. The doctor did an ultrasound and wanted to operate the next day – told me it was an emergency as I could bleed out (die) if it ruptured.
However, having had lots of experience with life-threatening conditions, I went within and consulted my own body wisdom. Which told me to book with my osteopathic doctor first. I told him what the issue was and theorized that there was some restriction, or something creating a massive pinch, or blocking tissue movement, blood flow etc. somewhere in the region. He worked on me – with no pain or sedation required – and then I continued to visualize my healing as I went to sleep that night.
When I arrived at the surgeon’s clinic the next day, I told her she needed to ultrasound again as I was pretty sure things had shifted. She did, and the hematoma was gone. Vanished. I told her what I had done, but was not surprised to see my words slamming up against the walls of her brain. No worries. But this and similar experiences have taught me that there is always a kinder, gentler way to accomplish healing.
When we enlist the body’s wisdom and we ask for permission, the cells and tissues themselves can let us in at a much deeper level than force can ever accomplish.
In this next video I outline how I clean Montaro’s sheath (he is now gelded) – again, unhaltered and with his full permission – and the Equi-Bow (equine version of Bowen Method) treatment and scar tissue release that Güliz did afterwards. This was definitely a piece of the puzzle, or pathway to healing.
But Montaro still isn’t fully healed in this area. How do I know? Because he urinated in front of me a few days ago and showed me that he was still having to contort himself, use a lot of effort, and take quite a while to release the urine. My gut tells me he needs the same type of treatment that Dr. Taylor shows us in the video above… but it needs to be done unhaltered, with permission/cooperation… and then, who knows what might be possible?
As Kesia Nagata trimmed Montaro’s hooves unhaltered (with complete freedom to leave if he wished), Montaro progressed from being a feral stallion who would not allow anyone to touch his feet, to allowing her to pick up his feet. And then, he took her a step further and showed her an entirely new method for trimming hooves – that none of us had ever seen before – that suited him much better and greatly reduced the need/frequency of hoof trimmings! THIS is the kind of gold that is possible when we work together, with full permission/collaboration with animals, rather than tying/sedating them and doing things to them. And yes, we have filmed the entire hoof trimming journey (over the course of 18 months) and will be bringing that to you in the next year 🙂
For now, here’s the vid with Montaro and his Bowen Method treatment to help release those castration adhesions…