Castration - BurdizzoMonday, 15th April 2019
By Dr Mackie Hobson
Castration in Angora goats is performed to improve herd management and benefit life-time welfare of the goat and should be carried out before or up to 8 weeks of age. With the Burdizzo method up to 12 weeks.
The kids must be protected against Tetanus. Kids can be protected against tetanus via passive immunity (mothers vaccinated).There are tetanus containing vaccines that can be given to kids from 2 weeks of age if the ewes were not vaccinated.
The procedure must be accompanied by pain relief and the procedure must be planned taking into account the age of the kid, weather, staff and available facilities to minimise stress. The kids should be separated from the ewes for as short a time as possible and should not be herded after the procedure.
There are a number of castration methods with the banding method being the most commonly used. Surgical castration has been proved to be the most painful and has the most chance of infection and fly-strike so is not advised by SAMGA (South African Mohir Growers Association).
The procedure must be carried out by a competent stockperson.
Good hygiene practices must be followed in relation to facilities, personnel, handling and instruments.
Ask your vet for advice or training.
The Burdizzo (emasculatome) crushes the spermatic cord and stops the blood supply to the testes. Without this blood supply, the testicles atrophy (shrivel up) but the scrotum remains intact. It is a bloodless technique and less painful than surgical castration. The ideal age for this procedure is up to12 weeks in order to be able to identify the spermatic corn on palpation. This method must be used if an adult Angora goat needs to be castrated.
As with other castration methods tetanus and pain relief must be covered. An appropriate sized burdizzo must be used (not a cattle burdizzo).
The method may also be less reliable due to the difficulty in identifying the spermatic cords.
The emasculator should be clean and disinfected as it is not impossible that the skin may be broken. Each goat must be examined afterwards - if a break in the skin apply a topical disinfectant.
Wash the upper portion of the scrotum (near to where it attaches to the body) and disinfect.
- With the scrotum in one hand move the testes down into the scrotum.
Feel the spermatic cord between your fingers.
- Spray the area where the clamp is positioned with a topical anaesthetic (Xylocaine) Schedule 1 – speak to your vet.
- Place the jaws of the emasculatome onto the upper scrotum, just below the rudimentary teats (about 1/3 of the way down the scrotum).
Position the jaws so that about a third of the scrotum’s width is held when the jaws are closed. Make sure you can feel (palpate) the spermatic cord within the jaws of the emasculatome before you close the jaws.
- Leave the instrument closed for 15 to 20 seconds. Make sure you can feel the spermatic cord in the jaws of the emasculator before and after it is closed.
- Open the jaws and move the instrument about 2cm lower and crush the other side of the scrotum. The clamp lines should NEVER be directly opposite each other otherwise the blood supply to the scrotum will be compromised leading to complications.
- The pressure points should be sprayed with a topical disinfectant/fly repellent spray (example Supona).
- When finished place the kid gently on its feet to avoid any contact with the soil. Allow the kid to join its mother as soon as possible and wander off without being herded to a cool shady area. The Goats must be provided with food and water and allowed to recover before being herded back to their camp.
- The kids must be checked for signs of infection or discomfort and treated accordingly.
- The scrotum will start to shrivel and dry up within 2 weeks as the blood supply has been cut off. If the scrotum is hanging by a thin thread this can be cut with a scalpel and topical disinfectant sprayed.
Surgical castration: As it is the most painful method this is not advised by the Mohair industry.
Surgical castration is the most painful method of castration. Research in the UK has shown blood cortisol levels to be higher in this form of castration. Surgical castration also has a higher chance of fly strike and infection.
Dr Mackie Hobson