How to perform a castration on Angora Goat

Friday, 18th May 2018

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 6 weeks of age.

Where kids are not protected against tetanus via passive immunity (mothers vaccinated) the kids should receive a tetanus anti-toxin at the time of castration. 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. 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 the least advised method.

Ask your vet for advice or training.

Castration Bands

This is a clean, quick and bloodless procedure. This method is most effective for young kids whose scrotal tissues have not yet become well developed. Under 6 weeks of age.

Keep the castration bands in the fridge (reduces chance of breaking). Prior to use soak the bands in alcohol or disinfectant for 5 minutes or spay the site with a topical  disinfectant spray after placing the band. Even though this is a bloodless procedure, Clostridium tetani can gain entry through the irritated tissue around the rubber ring

Banding is initially uncomfortable but the kid will soon forget about it. The discomfort may however last about 2 -6 hours so hence the reason for pain relief -speak to your vet.

  • Place the rubber band on the prongs of the elastrator (it fits into a groove on the sides of the prongs)
  • Hold the kid in the helpers lap, belly up and with the front legs restrained. The kid can also be positioned standing with both hind legs lifted.
  • Squeeze the elastrator to open the band and face it towards the base of the scrotum.
  • Pull the scrotum and testes through the band and place the elastrator towards the base of the scrotum. Make sure the teats (nipples) are not within the band. By placing your fingers on the belly make sure that both testes are completely within the band. Kids tend to withdraw the testicles.
  • When you are happy that everything is correctly position release the grip of the elastrator slowly.

Check that the band is correctly positioned. If you are not happy cut the band and start again.

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 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.

 

Burdizzo method

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 about 12 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. 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 two-thirds of the scrotum’s width is held when the jaws are closed. 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.

Surgical castration

As with all castrations methods tetanus cover and pain relief must be part of the procedure. The castration should be carried out in the cool part of the day (earlier morning or late afternoon).

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.

  • The kid is held belly up with the assistant holding the kids hind and front leg on each side together.
  • Hands must be washed and instruments (knife or scalpel) disinfectant. Wash the scrotum and disinfect.
  • Push the testes up out of the way and cut off the lower 1/3 of the scrotum with a cut parallel to the ground. The testes should now be visible.
  • Using your fingers, grasp one of the testis and pull downward. They are slippery and so hold firmly.
  • In young kids the cord can be pulled or a knife/scalpel is used to scrape the cord to break it. Bleeding can be reduced by applying a 5% Copper sulphate solution. Do not let any of the spermatic cord protrude through the incision site.
  • Spay or apply an antiseptic to the site.

Place the kid gently on its feet so avoiding contact with the ground and allow it to wander off to its mother.

 

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