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Castration

ISSN 2398-2985


Synonym(s): Neutering, Orchidectomy

Introduction

  • Orchidectomy is performed for the following reasons:
    • Method of population control.
    • Reduction of aggressive or dominant behaviors.
    • Reduction in the secretion of the sebaceous glands, making less pungent.
    • Removal or debulking of neoplasia (more common in middle-aged to older entire hobs).
    • Cryptorchidism (uncommon in ferrets). Cryptorchid ferrets are more prone to testicular neoplasia.
    • Treatment of trauma to the testicular region (rare in ferrets).
  • Generally carried out at puberty (12 weeks of age) but can be done at any age. The castration can be performed through a single scrotal incision as well as two separate incisions over each testicle similarly to the cat.
  • Both open and closed castration techniques have been described.
  • If castration is being performed for cryptorchidism, the location of the retained testicle(s) should be determined pre-operatively if possible.
Print off the Owner factsheets on Caring for your ferret before and after surgery and Neutering - why and when? to give to your clients.

Uses

    Advantages

    • Cheaper than hormonal implants.
    • Straight forward procedure.
    • Low risk of wound interference from the patient.

    Disadvantages

    • Surgical neutering of ferrets has been linked with development of hyperadrenocorticism Hyperadrenocorticism / hyperandrogenism later in life. This disease is more common in neutered ferrets of 3 years and older. Due to this, many vets do not perform routine castration of ferrets, but use deslorelin implants instead Deslorelin.
    • Castrated ferrets will not mate in-season jills and will not be able to bring them out of estrus. Alternative control of estrus will have to be implemented.
    • Even castrated ferrets will still have a characteristic smell.

    Alternative techniques

    • Vasectomy.
    • GnRH agonist implant Deslorelin - requires repeat implanting every 12-48 months.

    Time required

    Preparation

    • Standard 5 min surgical scrub is required.

    Procedure

    • Routine, scrotal castration: 5-10 min.
    • Inguinal castration of a cryptorchid: 15-20 min.
    • Abdominal castration of a cryptorchid: 20-30 min.

    Decision taking

    Criteria for choosing test

    • Single living male pet or a group of males kept together without jills.
    • Testicular neoplasia Testicular neoplasia.
    • Cryptorchidism .
    • Trauma to testicle or scrotum that cannot be repaired.
    • Cheaper alternative to hormonal implants which require repeat implants.

    Risk assessment

    • The risk of hyperadrenocorticism development later in life needs to be discussed with the owner along with alternative techniques of neutering in ferrets.
    • Risk of anesthesia, hemorrhage, infection, and wound breakdown should all be discussed with the owner pre-operatively.

    Requirements

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    Preparation

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    Technique

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    Aftercare

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    Outcomes

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    Further Reading

    Publications

    Refereed Papers

    • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
    • Jekl V & Hauptman K (2017) Reproductive medicine in ferrets. Vet Clin North Am Exotic Anim Pract 20 (20), 637-639 PubMed.
    • Risi E (2014) Control of reproduction in ferrets, rabbits and rodents. Reprod Dom Anim 49 (2), 81-84 PubMed.

    Other sources of information

    • Hedley J (2020) Ed. BSAVA Small Animal Formulary. Part B: Exotic Pets. 10th edn. BSAVA, UK.
    • Chitty J & Johnson-Delaney C (2017) Common Surgical Procedures. In: Ferret Medicine and Surgery. CRC Press, USA. pp 390-393.
    • Capello V (2009) Ferrets: Common Surgical Procedures. In: BSAVA Manual of Rodents and Ferrets. Eds: Keeble E & Meredith A. BSAVA, UK. pp 257.

    Further Reading