Thursday, June 30, 2011

You wanna spay what?

Dogs? Yes. Cats? Of course! A horse? ..........

Wait - what?

The good doctor and I took what I believe to be an "odd" phone call this afternoon. A gal called inquiring about fixing a horse. And not just "fixing" it as in fixing a problem or a wound, she meant fixing as in spaying the horse.

Now, for those that may have been living under a rock for the past half century or so, it is highly suggest that you spay or neuter your pets. Um, pets as in dogs and cats. And for the those that are still in the dark, "spaying" is where the lady bits get taken out so she can't get pregnant, and "neuter" is where boys get cut so they can't impregnate half the neighborhood pets.

Oddly enough, "neuter" is the term for dogs/cats; "gelding" is the term for horses; "castrating" works for every single thing.

Anyway, back to the horse. A gal asked if the clinic could spay a horse. I was a little taken by surprise as I've never heard of anyone actually spaying their horse. I mean, yes, it can be done. Apparently the good doctor informed me that he's done the procedure before. I handed the phone to him and let him answer the lady's questions because I was obviously not qualified as I would have told her just the geld the boys. Far less invasive and much more cost effective.

I about coughed up a lung when I found out that it would cost a minimum of $600 to spay a horse. It costs about $90 for a dog spay, and that's a lot.

Apparently, the way they spay a horse isn't exactly like a dog or a cat. Dogs/cats get cut along the abdomen, just below their belly buttons. For a horse, they lay it on one side, and make an incision on the flank, and take out an ovary. Then they have to flip said horse over onto it's other side, make another incision on the other flank and take out the other ovary.
The "flank" area is the number 3, just in front of the hip.
Not every large animal clinic has the same set up for equine surgery. One clinic I worked for had a special padded room dubbed the "fall room" which was where we anesthetized horses and guided them as to the floor as they got sleepy. In essence, we were helping them fall to the ground so they didn't hurt themselves. Then their feet would be bound and they would be lifted on a hydraulic system and pushed to the padded surgery table. After surgery, the horse would be lifted again on they hydraulics and pushed back into the fall room to wake up.
The clinic I work for doesn't have that kind of set up, although I'm sure they'd be like kids in a candy store if they could get their hands on one!
The easiest and most economical way to prevent a mare (female horse) from getting pregnant is to keep her away from a stallion. Or house her with other mares or  geldings. No problems there. The least economical way is to spay the 1200 pound mare.
Although, there is another idea, and it's probably more economical than spaying a horse. That is to stick a sterile marble where the sun doesn't shine. I've heard of this being used on sport/show horses where owners/riders don't want the attitude a mare can get when she comes into heat. Yes, even mares get a little nasty. It's not just humans. Anyway, the idea behind the marble is that if there is this thing bouncing around her uterus, it fools her body into thinking she's pregnant. Therefore, she won't come into heat. Therefore she can't be bred because she won't ovulate.
So, before you go getting any bright ideas about spending a small fortune on spaying a 1200 pound horse, you might consider more economical ideas. Like keeping it alone. Working on the boys. Or sticking a marble up it's hoo-ha.


  1. *eyes up the bag of marbles in the toy chest ignoring the children running around screaming at one another and the fist fight that just broke out between the boys* hmmm...wonder if that theory works on humans.....


  3. So glad I didn't cross the funny/gross line. haha.

  4. I must admit, I have never ever thought about what you might do with female horses.. But now I know.
    And Jewels, you areva funny lady

  5. Mynx - Not even the average horse person gives it too much thought. lol

    Drake - You should have shown up earlier! lol

  6. OMG! A bi-lateral oopherectomy on a horse! Priceless! That's insane! People are whack jobs! Sounds like animal abuse to me! Poor horse:( I suspect horses don't bouce back as quickly as dogs and cats.


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