Cryptorchids, also known as Rigs are stallions whose testicles do not descend in their scrotum as they mature. It is especially problematic in horses as it results in a low sperm count and decreased fertility, yet the testicles still produce testosterone which result in a stallion-like behaviour as the horse grows older.
In the past horses with this condition in Malta were put to sleep, or confined to a life of solitude where they wouldn’t be in contact with any other horses, because of their dominant character. Today, a lucky (if one can call him so) patient became a gelding at our clinic, and has a chance of continuing a career in polo. At just three years he was a good horse, considering he was a rig, however he wouldn’t have been able to play the sport with so many mares teasing him at the pony lines.
He was accompanied by his caring owners at the clinic, and was out of surgery in one hour from the time of induction. The surgery was not what one would call an easy one. The retained testicle was small and was right up the inguinal canal through the vaginal ring – yes, there is an anatomical area called so in a male horse. We managed to extract it after considerable effort, even though it was practically in its abdominal cavity.
He got out of the anaesthesia pretty quickly and calmly, and was munching away at some Hay in our stables a couple of hours later. 🙂
If you want to read further about Cryptorchids – here’s a good write up – https://thehorse.com/152362/what-is-a-cryptorchid/