Icelandic Horse Connection

Cryptorchid or Late Dropping Icelandic Horse Colts

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What is a cryptorchid? Most colt foals are born with two testicles present. A cryptorchid is a horse with only one visible testicle, the other being up inside the abdomen or inguinal canal. These colts cannot be gelded in the normal way and should not be bred from as the condition is inherited. Cryptorchids that are partially gelded retain the characteristics and behaviour of stallions but are infertile, unless the retained testicle has almost descended.

Iceland has not done any studies on cryptorchids, yet it seems to be quite common with Icelandic Horses.

It is unknown if Iceland has a definitive definition of cryptorchid, and if they have a plan to recognize it, and to breed it out.

A study:


Fourteen cryptorchid stallions that had been castrated at the Equine Clinic of the Veterinary Faculty in Ljubljana were analysed.

There were 8 stallions with unilateral cryptorchidism (left side). Seven of them had a testicle retained in the inguinal canal and the other one had a testicle retained in its abdominal cavity. The other six stallions were diagnosed as bilateral cryptorchids. Four had testicles retained in the inguinal canal, the right testicle of another was in the abdominal cavity, and a seven-year-old stallion, which was a triorchid with two right testicles, had testicles retained in both the inguinal canal and the abdominal cavity.

The age of the animals ranged from one to seven years, with an average age of 3 years. The breeds were as follows: 5 Slovene thoroughbreds, 2 Hungarian thoroughbreds, 3 Icelandic stallions, 2 trotters, one Lipizzaner and one Bohemian thoroughbred. The surgeon approached the testicles through a wound in either the inguinal or parainguinal areas which, with the exception of the inguinal canal, was later sutured with resorptive suture material.

The horses were kept at the clinic for 10 to 12 days after emasculation.
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