Simple veterinary procedures can sometimes have strange and unexpected turns that make them more than just a simple procedure. They become interesting puzzles that can, in this case, take years to solve, but then can become an interesting dinner table story.
This retired horse, retired from shows because he would occasionally fall down randomly, was set to be castrated so that he could live his retired life in peace. He was not old, his falling down was assumed to be due to a neurological issue that was not going to affect his well-being in retirement.
The veterinarian performed the castration and to her surprise found one regular testicle and one prosthetic testicle. The existence of the prosthetic testicle was completely unknown to the owner. He had been purchased in Europe and shipped overseas with no mention of his plastic surgery. No doubt the original owner believed that getting a full price for a stallion with one testicle would have been a challenge. Either way, the veterinarian removed both the fake and real testicles. Tests were then done to check his hormones for a possible hidden testicle, but they showed the same hormone levels a gelding would produce.
The newly made gelding never acted like a gelding after his surgery. More hormone tests. No change. The “gelding” would have some days of extreme biting, and some days more relaxed. More tests. No change. The “gelding” presented typical stallion-like behavior, but with no evidence that he was anything other than a gelding.
Finally, one test, perhaps two years after his initial castration, showed that his hormone levels were off the charts. No hormonal test is 100% accurate, but this result proved what everyone had been thinking over the years. The horse has cryptorchidism, meaning that he had a hidden testicle that failed to descend during fetal development. With cryptorchidism, a horse may display fluctuating hormone levels as shown in this case. It is just that the first couple times he happened to be tested on low-level days.
The veterinarian operated for the second time, first locating the testicle through x-rays. It was found snuggled up against his spleen. Tiny blood vessels and tissues had spread from the spleen and connected it to the testicle like a spider web. Once removed, the horse was officially a gelding. Time will tell, but this awkward placement of the testicle might also have been the cause of his occasional stumble by putting pressure on places where there should not be any.
Overall, this routine castration turned out to be quite the adventure because of a very sneaky stallion and the removal of three very special testicles.