Castration of a stallion is an elective surgery and performed daily all over the world to eliminate stallion behaviour and maintain herd dynamic. The best surgical method, in order to prevent post-operative complications such as swelling, infection, haemorrhage and evisceration is still debated. Several techniques of haemostasis have been described in order to avoid life-threatening episodes of bleeding after castration. In a routine castration the spermatic cord is either crushed with emasculators or ligated.
At the Equine Department of the University of Vienna two techniques are used for ligating the spermatic cord. Both techniques start with the transfixation, by passing the suture material through the vaginal tunic. Then the suture material is looped twice around the spermatic cord. The difference between the two techniques is whether one (single knot technique SKL) or two knots (double knot ligature DKL) are tied.
A pressure resistance test has been applied on 20 spermatic cords obtained from 10 horses (9 horses castrated, 1 euthanized). A ligature, either SKL or DKL was tied and the maximal load to failure was measured. Failure was defined as a loss of pressure, which occurred because of leakage of the ligature or rupture of the testicular artery.
No significant difference in the distribution of the results (leakage or rupture) between the two ligature techniques could be seen. Also the difference between the maximal loads to obtain leakage or rupture of the testicular artery between the SKL- and DKL technique did not appear to be significant.
Although the difference in the results between the two techniques was not significant a tendency for the SKL to be more secure could be noticed. With more horses perhaps a significant difference could have been seen.